Director of Electoral Area E of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) Eileen Benedict recently met with the B.C. minister of transportation to discuss long-term solutions for Colleymount Road.
After a petition that netted almost 1000 signatures, in addition to hundreds of letters sent to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the ministry committed to addressing critical areas of the road last summer.
Although Colleymount Road residents and community leaders thought this was a good start, Benedict says it’s not enough to address the structural problems of the road.
“It’s great that there has been so much progress out there [at Colleymount Road], but we don’t want to see it stop at that,” said Benedict. “Now we need to go to the next step because as a community we want to see a plan; we want to see something else happening.”
“We would like to see some kind of a plan for next year and the following year, at least two or three years in advance.”
Benedict met with minister Todd Stone during the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention last month. Also at the meeting were Burns Lake acting mayor John Illes and Bill Miller, RDBN Director of Electoral Area B.
“We had a good meeting,” said Benedict. “It was very productive and I felt that we were listened to.”
Benedict said the next step will be to hold a meeting with both the resident-led Colleymount Road working group and the ministry-led group.
“We’ve tried in the past to get the ministry to attend our community meetings, but we haven’t been successful,” she said.
Ideally, the resident-led group would like to see the ministry committing to a five-year plan.
“There are some financial restraints, and we understand that, but this fall we need to continue moving with a plan for next year,” said Benedict.
Since local resident Rita Lavoie, a strong advocate for improvements on Colleymount Road, moved away earlier this year, Benedict has been leading the resident-led group.
According to residents, Colleymount Road – which extends from Francois Lake’s ferry landing to km 54 – has had a significant increase of commercial and non-commercial traffic over the years and presents safety issues such as narrow, blind corners and sloughing on both road portions and embankments.
The road saw some improvements this summer including shoulder widening and mowing, pullout construction, brushing, sealcoating shore armouring, geotechnical repairs, as well as corner and bridge improvements.
“After all that was done last year and all the letters that the ministry received, they [the ministry] do know about Colleymount Road,” added Benedict. “If we don’t stay on top of it, it [all our efforts] will be lost.”