A late December blizzard isolated a small B.C. community for several days.
Jamie Caruso, a resident of Tulameen, said a lack of snow removal services put the town’s residents at risk after approximately two feet of heavy snow fell between December 19 and 20.
“People are getting stuck all over the place. I couldn’t even get out of my driveway for three days until a local resident, Aaron Kohler, went around and cleared as much as he could on his own.”
The region’s highway maintenance contract was awarded by the province earlier this year to AIM Roads, after being held for many years by Argo.
“People used to complain about Argo but I would take them back in a heartbeat,” said Caruso. “When residents called AIM they stated they would get to it when they get to it and Tulameen and Coalmont are not priorities. I would assume that because we pay taxes like everybody else we should have our roads cleared as well.”
The Spotlight was unable to reach an AIM spokesperson. However Bob Coyne, regional district director, said he has been monitoring the situation closely.
“AIM doesn’t have a full compliment of equipment yet and they haven’t been able to get it.”
In October Black Press reported that AIM was uncertain about delivery of the equipment it needed to do the job, but had hired sub contractors to assist.
The province awarded 26 new road maintenance contracts over the past 18 months, exhausting the supply of available machines.
AIM recieved a 10-year-contract in the South Okanagan and Okanagan Shuswap in October 2018 for approximately 3,500 km of roads.
Coyne said one grader that was destined for Coalmont and Tulameen broke down, and another is now either en route or in action.
Tulameen has a year-round population of approximately 250 people, but it is a popular holiday destination with many seasonal residents.
Coyne said equipment is expected in Tulameen on Christmas Eve.
He added the community has pulled together, with neighbors helping neighbors by plowing them out, or ferrying in supplies.
“People who live in the rural areas should have a few extra groceries.”
Coyne also acknowledged the efforts of the local AIM crew members, who have worked around the clock using the equipment available.
“Kudos to them..they are doing the best they can.”
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