Gabriel Nava, operations manager for AIM Roads stands in front of a tow plow in the company’s yard in Sicamous on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. (Cameron Thomson - Salmon Arm Observer)

Gabriel Nava, operations manager for AIM Roads stands in front of a tow plow in the company’s yard in Sicamous on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. (Cameron Thomson - Salmon Arm Observer)

AIM Roads responds to abuse of staff, public frustrations in Okanagan-Shuswap

Residents asked to be patient and respectful of workers

Along with responding to recent snowfall that has hammered the Okanagan-Shuswap, the province’s highway maintenance contractor has also been replying to a storm of public criticism.

Gabriel Nava, AIM Roads operations manager for the region, said while he would not consider any of the calls received by the contractor’s hotline to be threatening, he said some have been aggressive.

Nava said callers have also blamed AIM Roads for their loss of power during hydro outages, a service not within AIM Roads’ responsibility.

“There is a lot of good feedback and there are some people getting tired of the snow – that’s what I will call the frustration coming through,” Nava said. “I just think people need to be a little bit more patient and understand the situation is all over.”

Read more: AIM Roads ready to tackle winter on Shuswap highways

Read more: Roads contractor waits for snow removal equipment as winter looms

Nava explained if someone calls to report severe road conditions and they do not hear back from the contractor, the delay is due to the number of calls being received at the same time. Sometimes when AIM Roads telephone operators do get back to callers the response is less than positive.

“We try to address the concerns and let them talk, but when we try to explain anything we are being blamed,” he said.

Despite this, Nava is trying to focus on the positive, recalling a driver who told him of a woman who rushed out of her home to bring them cookies and thank them for the service.

Read more: AIM Roads Inc. helps improve access to Malakwa Community Park

Read more: AIM Roads apologizes ‘deeply’ for missed roads in Vernon area

The road clearing has been made challenging not just by the amount of snow, but also the colder temperatures that came with it. The brine solution used by AIM Roads is effective at keeping the roads clear of ice and snow to -9 C, beyond this the contractor is left to plow and lay down abrasive sand.

“In some sections they were rough, I agree, during the heavy snowfall, but after the last snowflake hits the ground, in 24 hours we were running the highways,” Nava said of the contractor’s response to the most recent snowstorm experienced in the region. “I have a plan of attack after these extreme temperatures start dropping and coming to warmer temperatures.”

Read more: Highways contractor’s performance leaves rural Shuswap residents cold

Read more: Shuswap-Okanagan highways contractor has ‘zero tolerance’ for abuse

AIM Roads is obligated by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation to focus on specific roadways in a snow event. One such specification laid out by the ministry is the maximum amount of snow allowed to accumulate before the contractor is required to plow. A ‘Class A’ roadway, one that has over 5,000 daily commuters, has a maximum allowable accumulation of four centimetres for one lane going each way and must be plowed within 90 minutes.

School bus and industrial traffic routes fall within the ‘Class C’ category and have an allowable accumulation of 10 cm for one lane going each way and must be cleared within six hours. Classes D, E and F, which include irregularly maintained winter routes, do not have specified allowable accumulations and timeframes.

Read more: Traffic delays reported on Highway 1 east of Sicamous, semi-trailer in ditch

Read more: New Okanagan highway maintenance contractor fails to meet sweeping targets

Nava said all of AIM Roads’ 113 vehicles are working the highways with the help of 11 different contractors.

“One thing that I think people are missing is the snowpack is already going beyond accumulations than in the past. Our snow quantities are getting big and everyone can see that,” Nava said.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The BC Wildfire Service is urging caution amid forecasts of strong winds throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. (BC Wildfire Service photo)
Strong winds forecasted for Kamloops Fire Centre, BC Wildfire service urges caution

“Wind can cause grass fires to spread very quickly,” says the BC Wildfire Service

Ranchero Elementary is one of four schools in the Salmon Arm area with potential exposures to COVID-19. (Google maps photo)
Four more schools in Salmon Arm area report potential COVID-19 exposures

Individuals who tested positive are self-isolating at home, students continue to attend school

The Regional District of North Okanagan is asking Vernon-based Tolko Industries to halt a planned cut block 500 metres above the Duteau Creek water intake, which provides 60 per cent of the Greater Vernon water supply April 22, 2021. (File photo)
Tolko urged to halt planned logging above Greater Vernon water supply

RDNO says planned cutblock above Duteau Creek could threaten 60 per cent of Vernon area water supply

Black Point and Turtle Bay on Mara Lake. (Jim Cooperman photo)
Rural Sicamous, Swansea Point, Malakwa residents to have say on official community plan

CSRD planning for two months of public engagement on OCP and zoning bylaws

An Ontario-based company has signed a contract with the CSRD to managethe Sicamous and District Rec Centre. (File Photo)
Ontario-based company gets management contract for Sicamous rec centre

CSRD approves contract with Nustadia Recreation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RauDZ pop-up patio located on Pandosy Street in front of The Okanagan Table. (Contributed: Audrey Surrao)
Kelowna restaurant gets creative to adjust to new health orders

The owners of RauDZ Regional Table open ‘pop-up patio’ to adjust to health order banning indoor dining

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The City of Vernon has placed 30th in Macleans.ca’s poll of the 415 best communities to live in Canada. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Okanagan city high on Macleans’ list of best places to live in Canada

Vernon ranked No. 30, fifth-highest in province and best ranking outside Vancouver Island; Halifax No. 1

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Wife and husband duo Alexis Esseltine and Timothy Scoon n took over Penticton’s Tin Whistle Brewing in October, 2020 and are making their mark on the iconic brew-spot by announcing a new look and an environmental focus. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s original brewery goes eco-friendly under new ownership

Tin Whistle Brewing is now one of the first certified carbon neutral breweries in B.C.

Vernon Christian School had its first COVID-19 exposure in April 2021. (VCS photo)
Silver Star, Vernon Christian schools latest in COVID-19 exposures

Clarence Fulton and VSS also reporting potential exposures

Most Read