Unhappiness over the winter maintenance of roads on the North Island has led to complaints and a promise to do better.
Port Hardy council has made it known it was definitely not fans of the performance of their new Highways contractor Mainroad.
And, after hearing the complaints, North Island MLA Claire Trevena has finally spoken up about the company’s maintenance, or lack thereof, of the North Island highways.
“Ministry staff and Mainroad North Island have discussed the contractor’s recent performance, completed an audit and identified opportunities for improvements,” stated Trevena in a letter to Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas.
She also noted they now expect to see “better road conditions in the North Island. Ministry staff will continue to monitor the roads closely to ensure they are safe and reliable.”
While Port Hardy Coun. Janet Dorward had previously expressed disappointment with Mainroad moving their service yard from Port Hardy to Port McNeill, Trevena stated it is “now in the centre of its servicing area, which creates opportunities for more effective service for all communities. Plows are sent north and south simultaneously, and ministry staff are not aware of any changes to the timing of maintenance on the Holberg Road.”
She also pointed out that Mainroad’s contract is “a performance-based contract. Our maintenance contractor is required to meet the specifications and standards of the maintenance contract … we hold them responsible for the results they deliver.”
It has been a bit of a rough start for Mainroad North Island Contracting after they were awarded the province of BC’s contract for highway maintenance in service area three back in October of 2018.
Just one month into their contract, a severe multi-vehicle accident occurred on Highway 19 just north of Port McNeill, with Port McNeill Fire Rescue’s Fire Chief Dean Tait describing the conditions as “treacherous”, resulting in serious injuries for two people who were sent to a Victoria hospital.
The company noted afterwards they only had around three months to mobilize for the winter season since winning the contract.
Mainroad has previously maintained the island highway from 1995 to 2003.