The District of Lake Country is expecting the Ministry of Transportation to pay for snow removal costs this winter along Pelmewash Parkway as talks continue about the devolution of the old Highway 97 through Lake Country.
After breaking for much of the summer, talks between the District of Lake Country and the Ministry of Transportation will continue this fall and through the winter as the province looks to hand over control of the stretch of highway along Wood Lake.
But it will likely be well into the 2014 calendar year before any agreement is close to being reached on handing over final control of the nine kilometres of road that will be handed over from the province to the DLC.
“Discussions are continuing with the ministry (of transportation) on what conditions the highway is in and when do we take over,” explained Stephen Banmen, Lake Country’s deputy chief administrative officer.
“It’s not so much when can we implement the plan that is being put together it’s more about when are we on the hook for maintaining it. When do we have to use our crews. We do not expect that we will have to do the winter maintenance in 2013-14.”
Maintenance on the road is a big part of the talks, according to Banmen. With no conceptual plan yet to be approved by DLC council, it’s still going to be a long time before any permanent work is done on Pelmewash.
Banmen said the current road may move or have cycling or pedestrian lanes added so doing any kind of large maintenance project on the road before its handed over to the DLC would be a waste.
“The municipality wants it either turned over to us in good shape so that we don’t have to spend lots of money maintaining it or we want money in lieu of improving it,” said Banmen. “One thing both sides agree on is the roadway itself may change in certain ways. It may move over from one side to the other. We don’t want the province to go in and spend a bunch of money and then a few years later we go in and rip it up because of the way we’ve designed it.”
There is work underway at both ends of Pelmewash as shouldering and paving is underway. Banmen said the province has also agreed to do some immediate maintenance where the road surface may be crumbling but added the DLC would prefer money in lieu of repairs with the future of the roadway uncertain.
Pelmewash Design Update
The public had what will likely be its final chance at input for the future design of Pelmewash Parkway at a meeting on Tuesday night (Sept. 24) where consultants presented an overview of the project using ideas submitted by the public and the District of Lake Country.
“It’s a summation of the various features or options that the public has come up with and was presented as an overview of the various features of the parkway as its proposed,” said Mark Koch, DLC director of planning. “The idea is to come away with a concept plan for the future of the parkway.”
Now that the final public consultation is over the next step will be to present the conceptual plan to Lake Country council some time this year.
“There is a number of stages in this process,” said Koch. “This is the concept plan, then you move forward to a more detailed design looking to how the concept can be accommodated. Then you have to come up with the funding for the plan. Once you have the concept plan it’s quite helpful in approaching other levels of government for funding opportunities and grants.”