Kimberley receives $4.5 million Gas Tax grant for Gerry Sorensen Way

Entire road will be rebuilt and repaved; no cost to city taxpayers

You know that bumpy, pot-hole riddled ride up Gerry Sorensen Way? It’s about to get a lot smoother.

The City of Kimberley announced Friday that they will receive a $4.5 million grant — or 100 per cent of costs, whichever is lesser — for the Gerry Sorensen Way Reconstruction project under the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund.

The only cost to the City of Kimberley would be if the project goes over $4.5 million and Mayor Don McCormick says that $4.5 million is more than enough to see it done.

This will involve full reconstruction and repaving of Gerry Sorensen Way from the bottom to up past the ski bridge.

The repaving of Gerry Sorensen Way has been something McCormick has been pushing for several years. He says it is Kimberley’s highest profile road and should be upgraded appropriately.

There are an estimated 800,000 vehicle trips on Gerry Sorensen Way each year, both local and tourist.

Improving the road improves visitor perceptions of Kimberley to visitors, said the City press release.

The poor condition of Gerry Sorensen Way is largely due to poor drainage and improper subsurface materials from the original construction.  The annual patching of potholes and cracking has consumed approximately half of the City’s paving budget over the last five years.

“Good roads create a positive impression of the community, and are a visible indication to taxpayers that their tax money is being well spent,” McCormick said. “Virtually every visitor that comes to Kimberley drives Gerry Sorensen Way, as does the majority of residents on a regular basis. Our highest profile road needs to be one of our best. We are thrilled to be able to do the work this year.

“But the tourist aspect is only one thing. This isn’t just for tourists. Our local residents use the road a lot. It’s equally important to provide improved roads for residents.”

The project will go out to tender in March. The work on Gerry Sorensen Way will begin in May and finish in September 2016.

McCormick says this kicks off a three or four year roads strategy that will see more Kmberley roads repaired in the coming few years.

“My hope is that this exciting project will be the first of more fairly visible road repairs in the next few years,” he said.

“Through the federal Gas Tax Fund, the Government of Canada is allowing communities in BC, and all across Canada, to make informed decisions about their infrastructure investments and how best to spend federal dollars. Community officials are best positioned to identify their specific needs, and the federal Gas Tax fund supports them in making those strategic investments,” said the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

57 communities across B.C. received $73.3 million in funding.

“Investments through the federal Gas Tax Fund are helping British Columbia’s municipalities address their local infrastructure priorities, while creating jobs and supporting economic growth,” saId The Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “Gas tax funding is important for building and improving critical transportation infrastructure, including the bridge in Zeballos and other municipal facilities. We thank the federal government for its support from this fund, which will make way for a number of worthwhile projects around B.C. to complement our 10-year transportation plan – B.C. on the Move.”