FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It isn’t a topic that has just sprung up but rather one that has been ongoing and residents in the Baldonnel area have had enough.
At a public meeting on Monday evening at the Baldonnel Elementary School, many residents voiced their concerns with MLA hopefuls also in attendance.
Residents described frustration with maintenance of roads in the area as well as priority. One resident said he has lived in the area for over 20 years and this is the worst he has seen the situation.
“It is just terrible. It is unacceptable and I’ve complained about it and I’m basically getting nothing.”
Issues such as road graters not being deployed and snow not being cleared has left residents in the area feeling that they don’t matter to road crews or the Ministry of Transportation. Residents also raised concerns when it comes to school buses not being able to get through due to impassible road conditions.
Yellowhead Road & Bridge did not return Energeticcity.ca’s request for comment by publish time. When The Ministry of Transportation was reached, they did confirm they have had other requests for comment but can’t provide comment as the government is dissolved before the election on May 9.
Residents believe there are two issues: maintenance and the design of the roads when they were built. When culverts are washed out, residents cannot get where they need to go.
“There is the maintenence part of it where school buses are getting stuck in snow drifts but then there is the design issue where we have to get some capital put into these roads.”
There have been changes to Highway 97 by the government recently but rural roads are still being neglected.
BC Liberal candidate Dan Davies, Independent Rob Fraser and Independent Bob Fedderly were present to hear concerns first hand.
Fedderly says that all the money being spend down south on projects like bridges could have been scaled back and some of those funds could have been sent up to rural roads that need work desperately.
“We really have to ask these questions. Are we getting what we need up here?”
Meanwhile Rob Fraser said that while he could certainly address this issue as MLA of Peace River North, he committed to residents that he will still work on this issue as Mayor of The District of Taylor.
“I’m not just a candidate for the upcoming provincial election but I am also the Mayor of the District of Taylor and it concerns that me that our firetrucks would have to go across those roads.”
BC Liberal candidate Dan Davies also expressed concern over the road conditions and experiences citizens have shared with him.
“Myself as well as Mike Bernier next door, having a voice for the entire region is extremely important.”
He also reccommended that instead of just calling YRB and the Ministry of Transportation to make a ‘paper trail’, so that information and actions are being documented.
As it sits now, it is a waiting game to see who is elected on May 9.