Peace River Regional District directors approved Thursday an agreement with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for the next five years, allowing select users to access the Charlie Lake Trucked Waste Receiving Facility during road ban season.
The facility on 273 Road serves an essential need for the disposal and treatment of domestic wastewater from rural areas. Seasonal restrictions are put in place every year, limiting who can haul sewer water to the facility.
The Ministry establishes exemptions at the request of PRRD through agreements for haulers who wish to access the facility year-round.
The PRRD will hold $100,000 in capital reserve for future road repairs under the agreement, but Tumbler Ridge Mayor Keith Bertrand expressed concern that wasn't enough.
"I have had some experience with road construction and $100,000 doesn't go very far," said Bertrand.
PRRD Board Chair Brad Sperling said the amount is well within the norms.
"We've been doing this for years, and that's how much the ministry has always asked for," said Sperling. "The only change here instead of making it come back every year is making it a five year [agreement]. We've been doing this since the facility was opened."
Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser asked whether the PRRD has ever asked the ministry to upgrade the roads so they can be used year-round.
"Has anyone asked what that would take for it to be 100% year round?" said Fraser, expressing that PRRD may be on the financial hook if road conditions deteriorate further.
Sperling said the roads were repaved last year by the ministry, noting year-round access has never been suggested to the Ministry.
Agreements ensure that funds are secured to address any damage caused by haulers during the restriction seasons, with PRRD covering $100,000 and the province covering additional costs.
The ministry is also required to conduct inspections prior to spring thaw, providing a baseline report for the regional district on the condition of the road.
Email reporter Tom Summer at firstname.lastname@example.org