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Coldstream raising highway maintenance concerns

Click to play video '‘We want it done in a timely manner’: Coldstream raising highway maintenance concerns' ‘We want it done in a timely manner’: Coldstream raising highway maintenance concerns
Complaints have continue to roll in about Okanagan highway conditions after a new contractor, AIM Roads, took over last year. Now an Okanagan municipality is getting involved – Jan 15, 2020

Complaints have continued to roll in about Okanagan highway conditions after a new contractor, AIM Roads, took over last year.

Now an Okanagan municipality is getting involved.

Coldstream is appealing to the province to look into road maintenance issues in their area, saying the contractor isn’t keeping up, particularly on Highway 6.

READ MORE: Road-clearing company recommending limited travel in North Okanagan

Coldstream Coun. Ruth Hoyte said it was complaints from local residents that prompted the municipality to take action.

“We’ve certainly heard expressions of concern from the residents,” she said.

“The roads have not been plowed in a timely manner and the snow has compacted, creating unsafe conditions for driving.”

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The District of Coldstream council agreed this week to write a letter to the province about the highway maintenance issue.

READ MORE: Abuse, threats hurled towards Okanagan highway maintenance call centre staff

“We’d like to see more plowing, more sanding and we want it done in a timely manner,” said Hoyte.

“If you wait to plow after a storm, the snow simply compacts and turns into ice.”

The B.C. government, however, has come to AIM’s defense, pointing out weather conditions have been particularly brutal in the region this year.

The Transportation Ministry said more than 150 centimetres of snow has fallen at a North Okanagan weather station since the start of December.

For context, the province said this January, the Kalamalka weather station has already seen more snow than it’s recorded any other January since it was installed in 2006, and the month is only half over.

READ MORE: Ambulance operations not impacted by major snowfall in Tulameen last week: BCEHS

But with the ongoing complaints and difficult winter conditions, the province said it is bringing in extra staff to monitor the area and work with AIM Roads.

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“Ministry staff are working closely to monitor AIM’s performance through these exceptional conditions and have confirmed that AIM Roads has all equipment fully deployed and are utilizing subcontractors to support their efforts,” the province said in a statement.

READ MORE: Cherryville unhappy with road contractor after school bus hits ditch

“AIM Roads crews are working around the clock to clean up and widen roadways across the Okanagan Shuswap.”

The province is also pledging to reach out to the municipality of Coldstream to discuss its concerns.