Gabriel Nava, operations manager for AIM Roads stands in front of a tow plow in the company’s yard in Sicamous on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. (Cameron Thomson - Salmon Arm Observer)

AIM Roads responds to abuse of staff, public frustrations in Okanagan-Shuswap

Residents asked to be patient and respectful of workers

Along with responding to recent snowfall that has hammered the Okanagan-Shuswap, the province’s highway maintenance contractor has also been replying to a storm of public criticism.

Gabriel Nava, AIM Roads operations manager for the region, said while he would not consider any of the calls received by the contractor’s hotline to be threatening, he said some have been aggressive.

Nava said callers have also blamed AIM Roads for their loss of power during hydro outages, a service not within AIM Roads’ responsibility.

“There is a lot of good feedback and there are some people getting tired of the snow – that’s what I will call the frustration coming through,” Nava said. “I just think people need to be a little bit more patient and understand the situation is all over.”

Read more: AIM Roads ready to tackle winter on Shuswap highways

Read more: Roads contractor waits for snow removal equipment as winter looms

Nava explained if someone calls to report severe road conditions and they do not hear back from the contractor, the delay is due to the number of calls being received at the same time. Sometimes when AIM Roads telephone operators do get back to callers the response is less than positive.

“We try to address the concerns and let them talk, but when we try to explain anything we are being blamed,” he said.

Despite this, Nava is trying to focus on the positive, recalling a driver who told him of a woman who rushed out of her home to bring them cookies and thank them for the service.

Read more: AIM Roads Inc. helps improve access to Malakwa Community Park

Read more: AIM Roads apologizes ‘deeply’ for missed roads in Vernon area

The road clearing has been made challenging not just by the amount of snow, but also the colder temperatures that came with it. The brine solution used by AIM Roads is effective at keeping the roads clear of ice and snow to -9 C, beyond this the contractor is left to plow and lay down abrasive sand.

“In some sections they were rough, I agree, during the heavy snowfall, but after the last snowflake hits the ground, in 24 hours we were running the highways,” Nava said of the contractor’s response to the most recent snowstorm experienced in the region. “I have a plan of attack after these extreme temperatures start dropping and coming to warmer temperatures.”

Read more: Highways contractor’s performance leaves rural Shuswap residents cold

Read more: Shuswap-Okanagan highways contractor has ‘zero tolerance’ for abuse

AIM Roads is obligated by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation to focus on specific roadways in a snow event. One such specification laid out by the ministry is the maximum amount of snow allowed to accumulate before the contractor is required to plow. A ‘Class A’ roadway, one that has over 5,000 daily commuters, has a maximum allowable accumulation of four centimetres for one lane going each way and must be plowed within 90 minutes.

School bus and industrial traffic routes fall within the ‘Class C’ category and have an allowable accumulation of 10 cm for one lane going each way and must be cleared within six hours. Classes D, E and F, which include irregularly maintained winter routes, do not have specified allowable accumulations and timeframes.

Read more: Traffic delays reported on Highway 1 east of Sicamous, semi-trailer in ditch

Read more: New Okanagan highway maintenance contractor fails to meet sweeping targets

Nava said all of AIM Roads’ 113 vehicles are working the highways with the help of 11 different contractors.

“One thing that I think people are missing is the snowpack is already going beyond accumulations than in the past. Our snow quantities are getting big and everyone can see that,” Nava said.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snow bike stunt movie filmed in downtown Revelstoke

The Way Home is an action sport film for Rockstar Energy, Polaris, and C3 Powersports

Letter: Dear Revelstoke City Council, say NO to highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The Central Alberta Economic Partnership is proposing a highway be built across Howse Pass

Letter: New $3.2 million signs shouldn’t be a priority in Revelstoke

The money may seem like a gift, but in the end it came from taxation

Update: Highway 1 between Salmon Arm and Sicamous partially reopens

Westbound traffic delayed as crews recover a vehicle

Mental health disorders, suicide on the rise among Okanagan students

The survey was conducted by the McCreary Centre Society in 2018

UPDATE: Protesters say they will maintain blockade near Chase “as long as it takes”

Signs at protest site say in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Deaths on popular Shuswap trail ruled accidental

B.C. Coroners Service reports on fatal falls in May and July 2019

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Federal minister to speak in North Okanagan

Greater Vernon Chamber welcomes middle class prosperity minister to talk money

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

EDITORIAL: Thoughtless posts to Facebook cause real harm and stress

At the risk of resembling a broken record, it needs to be… Continue reading

Most Read