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North Okanagan neighbours trapped by icy road

Residents didn’t see a snow plow for 5 days

A lack of snow plows left a BX neighbourhood stranded for days.

Constance Gaertner lives on McKoryk Road in the north BX, where as of Friday, Dec. 30 she hadn’t seen a plow truck in more than five days.

It wouldn’t be so bad, except for the latest snowfall blanketed a pure sheet of ice on the inclined road.

With one car already in the ditch for four days, Gaertner and several of her neighbours didn’t dare try and drive out, or go by foot.

“We are essentially trapped,” she said. “It’s too icy to attempt a walk down.”

“Right now it just looks like a lovely country road….no ice visible.”

The North Okanagan Regional District resident is left wondering who else has been “abandoned” by AIM.

The roads contractor has received a lot of negative feedback from travellers throughout the region concerned with road clearing.

“Emails and calls have been ineffective. Are we the only ones?” Gaertner said. “Fortunately no one up here has needed emergency care, but I wonder if that is the situation in other places. It would be impossible for an emergency vehicle to get in.”

BX Swan Lake fire chief Bill Wacey said there have been times when chained up firetrucks are needed to transport patients to paramedics in ambulances, which aren’t always equipped with chains.

He is also not impressed with road conditions this year, but it’s nothing new.

“I’ve never seen an improvement in the last 20 years,” Wacey said.

A couple blocks over, Glenhayes Road resident Penny Campbell said the situation is similar.

“We are typically three to four days after a storm before we see any meaningful plow,” said Campbell, who is grateful neighbours with plows help each other out.

Campbell, who has lived at the rural property for 22 years, agrees that the situation has been the same for years, long before AIM.

Gaertner too has learned to be prepared in the snowy months.

“Having lived on this hill for a while and experiencing a few winters we know to fill our freezer and cold cellar.”

Now she just has to wait for the roads to be driveable enough for the Telus repair driver to make it up the hill as they currently have no phone.

“Very, very frustrating to be ignored for this length of time in these conditions.”

A sanding truck did make it up to McKoryk Road Saturday, and on Tuesday morning a grader and another sanding truck made the road passable.

READ MORE: Highway 97 in Lake Country closed due to crash involving semi truck

READ MORE: ‘Road conditions are the pits’: Truck rolls over in North Okanagan


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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