District of Clearwater town council, in a special meeting held on Tuesday morning, approved spending up to $90,000 to begin repaving Candle Creek and Barber roads.
Despite being held during the day and at short notice, about 20 members of the public attended.
In his comments, Mayor John Harwood said that, while he appreciated the local residents who brought the matter to council’s attention, he did not appreciate those who reportedly had physically touched members of staff while discussing the controversy.
Chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx said that she had been approached by members of the public about two weeks earlier who asked her why Candle Creek Road had not been included in the repaving recently completed by Ministry of Transport in Clearwater.
Final decisions on which roads were repaved was made by the Ministry, she said. However, a list of suggested roads put together by the District did not include Candle Creek.
The feeling at the time appears to have been that it would be better to convert the roads back to gravel.
However, after consulting with other authorities, Groulx found that the consensus was that repaving would be a better option.
Considering the volume of traffic, if converted back to gravel, the road would need to be graded every three or four weeks (except in winter), plus be treated with calcium two to four times per year.
Staff therefore recommended that the District complete hot mix asphalt overlay repairs to the two roads. The work would be done by Borrow Enterprises as part of its road maintenance agreement.
A report from staff noted that Candle Creek Road had been repaved several years ago.
Unfortunately, there was no base under the overlay and the road is deteriorating to the point there is a safety concern.
Both Candle Creek and Barber road are heavily used, particularly with the existing cross-country ski trails and mountain bike trails being developed in the area.
The overlay would be a three to five year fix, so the District would need to continue adding overlay each year until a stronger road results.
Drainage problems that are causing the road weakness also need to be addressed.
Last November town council authorized spending up to $200,000 from the road capital reserves as part of the overlay program by highways department.
About $95,000 of those funds still remain and could be used for the proposed project.
Chuck Emery, who lives at the end of Candle Creek Road, noted that the road originally had been corduroy, built of alder logs. He still finds occasionally the big spikes used to hold the logs together, he said.
The special meeting was the first council meeting to be held in the new district hall, which is located in the former Dutch Lake School.