A section of Riverside Drive will be closed for the near-future until staff of the Town of Smithers get a design, cost estimate and funding to replace the culverts nearby.
In May this year the flooding events on the Bulkley at Riverside Drive forced the closure of a portion of the road while Town crews diverted creek flows.
Staff recommended to council that the road be closed and the culverts removed.
According to the report to council, there will be a Fisheries and Oceans-approved creek bed and banks established to ensure flooding won’t occur next year. There will be signs advising people of the closure.
Staff say BC Hydro and the fire department don’t have any significant issues with the closure.
When it comes to the private owners in the area, one owner has said that would like the road to remain closed, “since there has been a significant reduction in partying and noise near the former Main Street bridge abutment.”
The Provincial Emergency Program does not cover the costs of road repairs where there is no immediate threat to people, the town report noted. The removal of the culverts can be covered out of the Town’s resources in the gravel road operations budget. The environmental monitoring during in-stream work is estimated to cost $5,000, and staff say that can be accommodated through current Contracted Services budgets.
A road closure has to be established through bylaw. Now that council have accepted the recommendation the public will have the chance to provide comment.
“Right now it’s very safe the way we have it,” said Mayor Cress Farrow. “Closing it was very easy to do.”