Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald delivered a petition to the BC Legislature on Monday. The petition contained nearly 1,000 names of people who are concerned about the lack of maintenance on the highways in the East Kootenay, Macdonald said.
“I was pleased to present this petition on behalf of the people of the East Kootenay region who are very worried about the state of our highways,” said Macdonald. “I took this opportunity to bring this issue to the attention of the Minister of Transportation, Todd Stone.”
The petition originated with the FaceBook Group Taking Back East Kootenay Highways, which was formed by local area residents dissatisfied with the maintenance in the past couple of winters. The group began circulating the petition last December when highways were particularly treacherous after a storm.
At the time, Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett also expressed concern about the state of the roads. Mr. Bennett was not available for comment on the petition.
So what happens now? Macdonald says the process is dependent on the Minister actually seeing the petition and right now there is no requirement that would have him do so.
“We have proposed changes to the petition process to require the Minister to see it. Right now there is no requirement for a formal response. But I directed it to the Minister of Transportation in the Legislature.”
Still a petition is a good tool, he says.
“A significant number of people signed the petition and also wrote comments,” he said. “It’s one more tool pushing the government to do the right thing.”
Macdonald says the state of winter roads is one of the biggest concerns raised in his office, and that he has raised the issue with the Minister and his staff many times.
“All politicians from this region have not only heard from their constituents on this but have experienced it ourselves. Bill Bennett and myself drive these roads. This isn’t an inconvenience. It’s an important safety issue.
“It is clear from this petition that people are fed up. It’s time for the government to take real action to make our highways safe.”