Before his return to Victoria and the start of the Spring Session, Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok is hitting the streets of his riding.
Clovechok arrived in Revelstoke Tuesday morning and has been busy with a full schedule of meetings.
He’s planning to continue travelling through the riding before his return to Victoria on Feb. 10, when he’ll be in the capital for four months.
“It’s nuts,” he said Wednesday morning during a meeting at his new constituency office in Revelstoke. “We’re trying to get out and talk to everybody before I have to go back.”
Clovechok was elected in 2017 and is the first Liberal MLA in the riding for more than 10 years. He opened the Revelstoke office in October.
Clovechok spoke at a City Council meeting on Jan. 23. He’s met with a number of local groups and constituents with issues close to their heart. Some are just stopping by the office to say hello.
“We’ve been discovered,” he said, “and it’s good.”
Clovechok and his team have been working hard to make sure that constituents understand what type of work he’s doing and update a relatively active Facebook page.
“We’re really pushing our message out there so people have a better understanding of what their MLA is doing,” he said. “We’re still rookies, but for rookies, we’re doing all right.”
Among the issues that Clovechok has heard are important to Revelstokians is the dangerous section of highway near Three Valley Gap.
Longtime resident Shannon Smith had a close call there in November, when a portion of the cliff– including rocks and trees–sloughed onto her vehicle.
Clovechok said he spoke with her following the accident.
“Something needs to be done here because people are having near-death experiences on that section of highway,” he said.
In November, Clovechok said he challenged Premier John Horgan on some of the issues around the Trans-Canada Highway near Revelstoke.
He was told that safety improvements were a “priority.”
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is developing a product that could be used to help stop rocks from raining down on the road. A chainlink fence won’t work in the area due to the avalanche danger.
“We have some very dangerous situations here and they need to be dealt with, not today, they need to be dealt with yesterday,” said Clovechok. “People’s lives are at stake.”
Clovechok also addressed the twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway and said that the Kicking Horse Canyon project is shaping up to be the most expensive expansion in the history of the highway, at about $100 million per kilometre.
The project is slated to begin in 2019.
“They say it’s a priority,” said Clovechok. “We’ll see what the budget has to say…. it’s not going to happen overnight.”
Clovechok also acknowledged the importance of having a conservation officer based out of Revelstoke.
“The community needs it,” he said. “There’s absolutely no question in the CO (Conservation Officer) Service’s mind that we need to have one back here.”
In addition to avoiding massacres like the bears in the summer of 2016, Clovechok said that conservation officers help bring awareness to wildlife issues.
He was told that the Conservation Officer Service would have a larger budget this year.
A petition with nearly 1,000 names asking for a conservation officer in Revelstoke likely won’t be presented in the Legislature until after the budget.
“Sometimes those petitions go into a black hole and I don’t want this to go into a black hole,” said Clovechok.
Budget day is Feb. 20.