A crumbling Oasis road is sounding alarm bells for residents and the regional director of the small bedroom community.
The only marker for the dangerous section of Hillcrest Drive, located in the upper bench, are a half dozen traffic cones the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure recently laid down.
Located in Area B of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), responsibility for the primary access to homes in Upper Oasis, falls squarely on the shoulders of the province.
Regional district authority begins and ends at private property lines, explains Linda Worley, Area B’s longtime director.
But year after year, she has alerted the ministry about the worrisome situation although to date, repairs have only provided a temporary fix.
“I just spoke about this during our Area B town hall meeting last week (Feb. 17),” Worley told the Trail Times Monday. “I was made aware of the situation again this year when a resident of the upper bench phoned me on behalf of the neighbours.”
Her annual courtesy call to Emcon and report via telephone to the ministry has been made, and Worley expresses frustration with the latter’s reply.
“Every year we end up phoning, speaking with someone, and getting the same response,” she said, mentioning sloughing occurs when winter precipitation saturates the earth beneath the road.
“I don’t think that’s enough and I’d rather they be proactive rather than reactive.”
Worley is concerned a large vehicle could trigger a potentially lethal slide.
“Being reactive is a little too late if something awful happens,” she said. “
Unfortunately it’s going to be a fire truck, or another large vehicle, trying to get up there and it’s going to give way. Or it might be a poor resident passing by when something happens – that’s when they’ll finally do something and that’s not the way we should be treated.”
Worley is advocating for lasting and secure repairs that would include more than a simple re-paving.
“I was told when the ground saturation clears up somewhat they plan to go up and try to do some work and stabilize it,” she said. “That’s what they told me again, even though they’ve been warned every year that this happens.
“I would like to see something more permanent, maybe some kind of retaining wall to help with the sloughing.”
Another concern on Area B roadways and lining West Kootenay highways are rotted trees, says Worley.
“A resident who is very forward in trying to get something done with dead trees, drove me around,” she explained. “There’s problems along Casino Road, out to Robson and the main Paulson highway.”
Dead trees and large overhanging branches are left unattended because the ministry doesn’t consider the matter high priority, says Worley.
“That’s something else I brought up with them,” she said.
“They do rock scaling on a regular basis because they are afraid a rock will come down on someone. So why aren’t they doing something with the trees,” Worley added.
“I don’t want to play Russian Roulette with my family or anyone else’s family so if something happens, ‘Who is going to bear the responsibility?’” she questioned.
“Again like the sloughing in Oasis, taking care of the dead trees, is being proactive – it’s the ministry’s responsibility and I say, don’t wait for something bad to happen.”-