urging citizens to complain to the province about ongoing highway gridlock in
of information I think we need to take to the provincial types are the number
of highway closures, the length of those closures, the number and content of
complaints, and the additional snow clearing and policing costs,” said
Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden at Monday night’s meeting.
urging the public to pass stories and complaints to Joan McIntyre, MLA for West
more ammunition to take the case to the minister,” she said.
Monday night’s council meeting, Wilhelm-Morden spoke about the need to address
this issue, calling the gridlock a “true definition of frustration.”
again, we had snow coming down mid-afternoon. It started coming down at two or
three o’cloc… And highway traffic sure enough grinds to a halt,” she said.
rest really is a sad story of people taking four hours to get from North
Vancouver to Whistler, or people taking two hours to get from Whistler to
incident was the second time the highway has become gridlocked in less than a
month. On Jan. 6, a similar scenario of heavy snow caused traffic to be stalled
for more than four hours.
factors are at play in the events, including having only one point of access by
vehicles into and out of Whistler. Also, key people in charge of maintaining
the highway through snow plowing and salting are located in Squamish and
Melamed said that Tourism Whistler and other local organizations have already
communicated their frustrations with the Minister of Transportation, Kevin
that the highway situation needs to be addressed.
“We have an
expectation of service,” said Melamed.
does seem to have been deteriorating over the years,” he said.
municipality is not responsible for highway maintenance and has no way of
ensuring that the people cleaning Whistler’s roads have their plows parked in
Ralph Forsyth agreed something needs to be done, stressing that these highway
closures have real costs to Whistler’s economy.
weekend I skied with two guys who were stuck in it (Friday’s gridlock) for two
hours, and they had debated whether they would come skiing that day,” he said.
who didn’t come skiing.”
been two meetings so far this year with corridor stakeholders to look into the
highway gridlock issue. The first meeting was held immediately after the Jan. 6
incident and a follow up meeting was held last week prior to Friday’s incident.
meetings, the RMOW has ensured the municipality’s plows put their blades down
when travelling along the highway, made arrangements for the highway contractor
to access sand and salt within Whistler, and improved the RCMP communication
MacPherson, general manager of community life for the RMOW, added that Whistler
Fire Rescue Services and the Whistler RCMP are continuing to follow up on
will also correspond with McIntyre to express their continuing concern about
the highway, with the hope of convincing the Ministry of Transportation to pass
new regulations that would improve winter access in the corridor.
regulations could include requiring winter tires for all vehicles, including
rented cars and commercial vehicles, obtaining additional funding for policing
costs, and asking the provincial government to ensure a certain response time
from contractors involved with highway maintenance.