Here we go again

MLA Bill Bennett protests too much in his criticism of Mainroad.

Winter is upon us and we are having the same old issues with Mainroad as we have had in the past. What I see as ironic is Bill Bennett calling the company out after having given them another seven-year contract at $16.7 million a year.

What I have personally noticed is the highways around Fernie are not too bad; it’s when you get to Jaffray that you really have a problem. Last Friday evening Jaffray to Cranbrook was like a skating rink. I realize that when the temperature drops below -15 degrees most de-icing treatments do not work, and unfortunately for travelers, Mainroad claims to have run out of its de-icing agent this past week. Of course it’s also possible that after all of the backlash over the past two years from Fernie residents, Mainroad is keeping our roads better at the expense of other areas.

Last year Mainroad said that they were having trouble hiring people in the area to keep the plows going. This year the company is saying over 75 employees are plowing and sanding East Kootenay roads around the clock. So what’s the problem now if they have adequate staffing?

The roads within the city of Fernie haven’t fared much better. I am concerned that, on Facebook Mayor Giuliano defended the fact that Fernie’s roads are in poor condition by saying that the highways are more important. You may be going at faster speeds on the highway but you can still have accidents in town due to lack of maintenance. I was also surprised to see a snowplow clearing the highway through town at noon on Monday, practically bringing traffic to a halt, when it could have been completed hours earlier when the road was less busy. To me that speaks of poor planning and a lack of research into the weather forecast. So let’s not defend one over the other. Let’s call for better road clearing all around.

I was rear-ended on main street two winters ago because the road conditions were very poor. I wasn’t hit very hard but I still ended up with whiplash – is this acceptable because I wasn’t on the highway?

To be fair, Mainroad has recently spent funds and resources in building a new shop/yard on Highway 3 in Elko, which is great; let’s hope that they continue to spend money and resources on keeping all the roads in our area safe for everyone.