People living and working on a rural road near Enderby, B.C., are speaking out about the icy conditions they experienced over the holidays.
They say the bad weather combined with lacklustre road maintenance left them trapped or forced them to take matters into their own hands.
Trinity Valley Road resident Stacey Hooper said icy road conditions left her household effectively stranded for days.
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To get to medical appointments, Hooper ended up walking a few kilometres to a spot where a relative could pick her up
“We were trapped in our home,” said Hooper.
“Christmas night it started to rain….I’d have been better off with skates trying to travel this road. It was so icy.”
Hooper said there was some unprecedented weather but she also doesn’t believe the appropriate effort was made to clear the road.
“We kept phoning and phoning [and] they kept telling us that they had to keep the main roads clear. Well, when I got down there the main roads were clear and dry and we were still stranded up here,” said Hooper.
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Trinity Valley Road dairy farmer Ralph Van Dalfsen said the slippery conditions over the holidays also impacted his operations as the farm needs to regularly move a piece of heavy equipment used for feeding cattle back and forth between two properties on the road.
“We couldn’t run equipment back and forth a number of times or it was kind of dangerous to do so,” Van Dalfsen said.
“We’ve got a gravel pit on our farm so [we] actually put gravel on the road ourselves at my own risk…which isn’t a very good feeling as well but it was what we had to do to be able to run our own business.”
Van Dalfsen would like to see the province review its local road maintenance contract.
“Either there needs to be higher penalties for lack of service or something has to change along those lines,” he said.
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In a statement, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said unusual weather over the holidays saw extreme cold and heavy snow followed immediately by freezing rain and this led to extremely challenging road conditions in the Enderby area.
“The ministry was continuously monitoring the performance of the contractor during this period and determined that in some cases response times were not met for restoring traction on side roads in the Enderby area,” the ministry statement said.
“The ministry is continuing to meet with the contractor to debrief on the storm and analyze operations during this period to identify opportunities to improve service when similar challenging conditions occur in the future.”
While the road is now passable, residents say it’s still far from ideal.
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