Regional district wants road back

A piece of St. Mary Lake Road in Kimberley city limits should be returned to the province, board directors agree.

The regional district wants to take back a part of the City of Kimberley.

It’s a desperate measure to see road repairs done on St. Mary Lake Road.

At its May 3 board meeting, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board of directors decided to send a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure requesting that the province take back ownership and responsibility of a portion of St. Mary Lake Road that is within Kimberley city limits.

The board will also write to the City of Kimberley, asking that they apply for a boundary reduction for that piece of land.

Area E Director Jane Walter said that St. Mary Lake Road from kilometre three to Highway 95A is in a bad state of disrepair, but repair of the road is not a priority for the City of Kimberley.

“On November 26, 2012 the City informed us that this road is not part of their planning priorities because Kimberley residents would not be served by these repairs,” Walter wrote in a report to the board.

“The deterioration of the road has created a risk to public safety, the potential for increased maintenance cost to vehicles, and with the ever increasing recreational traffic along the road, it will continue to get worse.”

Walter said Kimberley expanded in the 1970s, taking in this part of St. Mary Lake Road.

“This section of the road was supposed to be repaired prior to being included in the city limits; however, the necessary repairs were never made,” she said.

Now City of Kimberley staff are suggesting it hand over that piece of land to the province. The regional district has municipal governance over any part of the East Kootenay not inside an incorporated community but the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is responsible for roads.

“I would never have thought of this until I had a meeting with a Kimberley councillor and staff. They asked me to bring this forward,” Walter said during an RDEK committee meeting Thursday, May 2.

She admitted that getting the provincial government to take back control of the parcel may not be a speedy process.

“I think this is going to take years,” she said.

Beside the road, the only property that would be affected by the boundary change would be the Boy Scout’s Camp Stone.