Opinion

Dunn Lake Road could be next week’s front page headline

The last few weeks of flooding and roads being washed out throughout the southern Interior has everyone watching or listening to weather forecasts and reports while having their fingers crossed and wishing for positive results regarding all those impacted by these events.

We’ve all seen the pictures on the news hour, read the headlines, and watched the Facebook videos.

We’ve seen Westsyde Road under water, Clearwater with roads washed out, and many hillsides looking like they have grown legs and are starting to leave the area.

We’ve also seen all the work being done in the Rayleigh area where residents have been evacuated from their homes due to the hillside above them starting to slough towards Highway 5 which is directly above their properties.

We do feel for all of these folks.  Evacuation is a waiting game that has you on the edge of your seat with nothing to do but fret and worry about the “what ifs”.  Let’s all pray for the sun to come out and the rain to hold off long enough for those trying to stabilize the  hillside to be successful.

I do however want to point out that all this excitement and heartache for those affected by the recent flooding, etcetera, has taken the focus off a very serious and similar situation happening right here in the Barriere area.  And this situation started long before what is happening in the region now.

This is the sloughing of the hillside above Dunn Lake Road just a few miles north of Barriere – sloughing that started in early April.  Not only has the hillside moved an impressive amount, but the roadway has also sunk – and it is getting more pronounced every day.

This is not a major highway artery for the region, but it does carry more than a 100 vehicles daily, and most importantly, one of those vehicles carries irreplaceable cargo twice a day – a school bus transporting children back and forth between Barriere and Chu Chua.

We know that Simpcw First Nation has been concerned about this road for years.  They have consistently spoken with government about repairing and upgrading the road but so far have not seen anything being addressed by the Ministry of Transportation who is responsible for maintaining the safe condition of Dunn Lake Road.

At this time this section of road fails miserably when being considered in “safe condition”.

Driving this stretch of road is guaranteed to set alarm bells going off in your head if you take a moment to reflect on what could happen if you are their when that huge volume of material finally comes down.

One Chu Chua parent says she no longer puts her children on the school bus, instead she drives them to school herself; she reasons if the hillside comes down – she will be with them.

Our calls this week to MOT have not been returned – although we do understand they are pretty overloaded at this time due to the number of washouts, etcetera occurring throughout the province.

BUT – if no government body recognizes the danger of this road and acts quickly and responsibly to investigate and address it – next weeks headline could be about Dunn Lake Road.

 

 

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