Unless it happens to be snowing on Sept. 22, when District of Clearwater takes over responsibility for roads, area residents won’t notice a lot of difference.
That’s the word from representatives of the District, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Argo Road Maintenance and Borrow Enterprises when they met with the Times recently.
Clearwater incorporated as a municipality in 2008 but for the first five years the provincial government continued maintaining the roads within the municipal boundaries.
As of Sept. 22 that will no longer be the case.
“This is no slight to Argo, but we’re hoping to have a higher level of service because our contractor, Borrow Enterprises, will not be worrying about the highway,” said Clearwater chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx.
This will mean that snowplowing will begin earlier and be done more often, she said.
The municipality will continue to maintain its Snow Angel list, the CAO said. This is a list of people who have volunteered to shovel the driveways of the elderly and mobility challenged.
Barriere and Sun Peaks are also taking over road maintenance on the same day. The changeover date was chosen because it’s the date when Argo’s contract rolls over.
The approximately 68 km of roads within the District will be put into three categories and have three levels of service, said public works superintendent Jared Brounstein.
Arterial roads will have the highest level of snowplowing. Examples would include Clearwater Village Road, Station Road, Swanson Road and Park Drive.
Collector roads would be the next priority. Sunshine Valley Road and Candle Creek Road would be examples.
Streets in subdivisions would be examples of local roads, which will receive the lowest priority.
Robson Street through Weyerhaeuser subdivision is a main thoroughfare but will be classed local as the plan is to discourage its use.
The changeover will not mean a change for the size of the Argo crew stationed in Clearwater, said Argo general manager Harvey Nelson.
The focus now will be more on the highway plus the schoolbus routes, as well as the communities outside Clearwater.
His company and the District have arranged to trade sections of road for snowplowing, he noted.
Argo will plow Dunn Lake Road from the CN crossing south, even though a portion of it is within municipal boundaries.
In return, the municipality will take responsibility for plowing roads that are outside its boundaries but accessible only through the District.
Borrow Enterprises will assign two trucks and a grader to the District contract, said business owner Doug Borrow.
People should look for the District of Clearwater logo on the equipment to identify it as one assigned to the road maintenance contract.
They are experimenting with a wing to minimize snow being plowed into driveways, Borrow said. He predicted it will be effective in most areas but asked for people’s patience.
Anyone with questions or concerns should call Borrow Enterprises at 250-674-8776 and leave a message.