Open letter to MLA Terry Lake;
I am writing concerning the deplorable condition of our highways.
My specific complaint is about Highway 5 north of Vavenby. In the past two weeks, it has been closed twice due to serious accidents directly attributable to the lack of snow removal.
My trucking business delivers food and other necessary goods to the communities on Hwy 5. Every day since it started snowing my drivers are seeing numerous vehicles off the road. They have been very fortunate not to be involved in any accidents, however, I wonder just how long their skills will be able to outmaneuver someone else’s bad luck.
I have been dispatching trucks on Highway 5 for the past 15 years. Until Lakes District Maintenance acquired the contract, there was not even one occasion the highway was closed due to snow.
The previous contractors, Interior Roads and Northland Roads, sent their crews out as soon as the snow started falling and they didn’t stop until it was safe. Lakes District has hired many of the same crew members who know what needs to be done and when, however, their superiors seem to make their decisions based on their budget rather than common sense safety. I understand they awarded themselves a nice trip to Hawaii with all the money they saved not removing snow last winter.
I have seen their trucks traveling along the highway with their blades up and lights flashing when there is nothing falling from the sky, nothing on the pavement to plow, not even spreading sand/salt.
When the snow starts falling there is not a plow truck to be found. I know all too well the cost of fuel, wages and truck maintenance. I have to wonder how driving around doing nothing fits into their budget, but plowing doesn’t.
The news has been reporting the rate increase ICBC is planning due to all the claims they have paid.
I would hazard a guess the claims would be substantially less if the highways were properly maintained. Perhaps ICBC should be enforcing penalties to highway maintenance contractors rather than raising rates to innocent drivers. Or our province could implement a law similar to that in Ontario whereby the police can close a highway they deem unsafe and fine the maintenance company.
The non-maintenance of our highways is costly to all commercial carriers and the businesses depending on them to bring their goods. Why are these highway maintenance contractors allowed to endanger lives and jeopardize business? Perhaps the safety criteria of the contract should be somewhat more explicit.
As our MLA, I would like to know your position on this matter. I believe this should rate somewhat higher priority than tanning beds.
Suz Lyttle, President
Suz Lyttle Cartage