January 12 – Letters to the editor

Opinions and ideas from around the area, emailed to us and shared with you.

Accident Prevention

When downsizing hurts and effects overall safety on highways in winter.

Prior to 1998 highways privatization repair depots were supplied across area 11, graders with wings and ice blades and trucks that could apply sand, salt, underbody plow and or front snow plow were available with trained operators from Oct. 1 until Mar. 31 each year on shifts 24 hours a day and night.

The Sparwood location had four trucks, one grader and two 4×4 loaders; Fernie location had six trucks, two graders and two 4×4 loaders; Jaffray location had four trucks, one grader and two 4×4 loaders; Cranbrook location had seven trucks, two graders and three 4×4 loaders; Yahk location had three trucks, two graders and one 4×4 loader; Kimberley location had four trucks, one grader and two 4×4 loaders; Invermere location had six trucks, two graders and three 4×4 loaders for a total of 34 trucks, 11 graders and 15 loaders.

These publically owned units were all sold off after the second contract term and incoming contractors had to supply their own units and fit them up with snow plows, wings, sanders and underbody plows to meet job requirements. Each time the contracts are renewed the units are taken away and not sold to, or shared with the incoming contractor, so sometimes fleet size numbers are lost and/or downsized and the ability to react to historically known winter workloads are lost through downsizing for profits.

Placement of facilities with units near sandpits and salt storage where historic snowfalls had been recorded was planned so units, operators and supplies would be near and ready to tackle winter operations as well as limit travel times and backtracking. Downsizing these locations to save money on rental locations to accrue profits hinders the response times and will effect the overall performance of the operations and condition of the winter roads and can result in an increased vehicle accident rate with injuries and possible deaths with surely increased insurance rates.

Defensive driving to meet road conditions is a driver responsibility but having well maintained roads serve as an accident prevention tool. The cost of a load of sand is paltry compared to the legal cost of accident settlements that run into several million dollars each let alone pain and suffering and loss of loved ones who are precious and non-replaceable.

Robert Johnson, retired 35 years highways operations

Nelson B.C.


Political Professionalism

The assertions and assumptions made in the Kootenay East Liberal candidate’s pre-Christmas mail-out are, unfortunately, contradictory, inaccurate or questionable.

Mr. Shypitka insists that he is ‘…not a professional politician’, implying that professionalism in politics is somehow less acceptable than professionalism in, say, medicine, law, education or business  –  and yet here he is, hellbent on becoming a professional politician himself.

Beyond this contradiction, he makes the misleading claim, inherited from MLA Bennett himself, that Bennett was responsible for “…bridges on Highway 3”.

In fact, the bridges were built as part of the planned BC NDP project for the Highway 3 corridor, from the road realignment at the Movie Bluffs (2000), over the two Fernie bridges (1999) and through to the Alberta border.  Even the stringers for the new Hosmer Bridge, built after the NDP defeat in 2001, were bought and paid for by the NDP.

Further, as a fan of what he refers to as East Kootenay’s “…true regional hospital,” Mr. Shypitka will have real difficulty in justifying to Elk Valley residents, the asset-stripping of Elk Valley hospitals by MLA Bennett and his BC Liberal government in the early 2000s.

The central assertion of his mail-out, however, is that ”…a person must earn their way into politics…”

It can certainly be argued that NDP candidate Macnair’s fifteen years of political experience in local government – nine as councillor, six as mayor of Fernie and  member of the RDEK – and his work with provincial politicians, up to and including Ministerial level, is a sound preparation for the position of MLA.

In light of this, the BC Liberal candidate’s assumption that two years as a city councilor will ”…earn [his] way into politics…” is questionable, and should inspire little confidence in his candidacy.

JC Vallance,

Fernie, B.C.


Draining the Canadian Swamp

I am a Canadian citizen who has worked in the Canadian work force for forty years. I am 70-years-old and only receive $1012 per month, $12,144 a year, but a refugee can get an allowance of $1890 a month plus $580 in social aid, for an income of $29000 a year. But because a Canadian citizen has no right to express his or her opinion, it is not a society of free expression, it is not a free and democratic state. It is an orthographic organization, which has no consideration for that generation that has built our great Canada (we need Donald Trump to make Canada great again and drain the swamp in Ottawa.)

Terence Keith Poulton

Sparwood, B.C.