City of Revelstoke to improve response for travellers stranded by highway closures

After meetings with stakeholders since a Jan. 2 road closure incident, the city is planning to take the lead to develop a plan

In this file photo

In this file photo

IN BRIEF: A major highway closure on Jan. 2 led to a backlog of travellers in Revelstoke during our winter high season, stranding many without a place to stay in the already booked-out winter tourism peak.

It came just two days after the City of Revelstoke ended its contract with its emergency management coordinator, and the city’s response came under fire from many sectors soon after. The emergency response was poorly coordinated and barely communicated.

The crisis brought out the best and worst in Revelstoke; hotels networked to find spare rooms in residences, and many offered them up for free. Some offered rooms for rent online at reasonable prices, while others tried to gouge.

Critics say it made a terrible impression on many stranded travellers.

After a few meetings with stakeholders since then, the City of Revelstoke is planning to take the lead to develop a plan to deal with road closures in the future.

A recommendation adopted at Revelstoke City Council’s  Mar. 11 meeting calls for a plan that ensures “there is an expectation for the emergency response network to make housing available for stranded travellers when required.”

It calls for collaborations with other community organizations, such as the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce.

The plan also asks staff to explore keeping the sani-dump open all year round, noting it’s needed during crises, and there have been incidents of people dumping there illegally.