No paving this year

  • Feb. 6, 2009 4:00 p.m.

Plans to pave the highway between Port Clements and Masset have been shelved for 2009, according to Randy Penner, operations manager for the Ministry of Highways in Terrace. The road has not been paved in decades, and is showing signs of age. Mr. Penner told the Observer the paving is still high on the priority list, but the budget for doing it is zero for 2009. He wouldn’t speculate on whether there’d be any money to do it in 2010. “It’s definitely not going to happen, and my fear is that without (it)., the asphalt plant will be taken off island leaving us with no asphalt production to continue with our maintenance program,” said Dennis Reindl of O’Brien Road and Bridge Maintenance in Port Clements. The plant belongs to Adventure Paving of Prince Rupert. Warren Beal of that company said “the plant in Masset will not be able to run without the funding promised.We were counting on the money to be able to do that and now it is a real possibility that the plant will have to be moved off island to a location that will have work available.” Mr. Beal says the switch is political. “The ministry is trying to get the biggest bang for its buck because of the upcoming election,” he said, “they want visibility, and unfortunately the Islands population is too small so all funds are being put into areas where they will get more visibility, it is not about the roads or safety, it is about re-election. Port council discussed the issue when it met February 2. It will write a letter expressing its concerns to the Ministry of Highways.