Saturday April 19, 2014





Martin Prairie paving should have waited until spring, regional director says

The good news for Pritchard residents is Martin Prairie Road was paved as promised, but the finished product isn't what Thompson-Nicola Regional District director Ken Gillis had hoped for.

"Frankly, we haven't had much of a look at it because the day after (it was paved) it snowed," Gillis said Sunday. "It's been pretty much covered in snow ever since."

After months of waiting, the unpaved section of Martin Prairie was covered with asphalt on Oct. 30 and 31. Gillis could tell something wasn't right from the start.

He described the asphalt as "crumbly," with loose rocks on the surface. And vehicles experience washboard conditions when travelling on it, said Gillis. This is noticeable even with the road covered in snow.

"It doesn't feel very good driving on it," he said.

Crews started paving Martin Prairie in July, and worked up to Pritchard resident Lee Milne's property line before they had to stop. About 500 metres of the 2.5-kilometres section was completed.

Milne never responded to requests for an interview, but Gillis and fellow residents Jean-Marie Bernardet and Dieter Arndt allege the road crosses part of Milne's land and he wouldn't let crews work on it until it was made safer.

At the time, residents told The Daily News the only unsafe thing about the road is that it isn't paved.

Gillis was promised the work would be completed before winter. Early in the fall, he was worried if the paving wasn't done soon, it wouldn't be done at all.

On Sunday, he said it might have been better to wait until spring. He believes the frozen ground is to blame for the recycled asphalt not setting properly.

"It needs pretty much ideal conditions to make that stuff work," he said, adding he isn't a paving expert.

As for the some 40 to 45 families that wanted the road paved, Arndt said people are glad the work is done, even if the end result isn't ideal.

"We are happy," he said.

He hopes the province will contract a crew to repave the section in the spring.


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