In a surprise move the City of Williams Lake is closing the Frizzi Road access down into the river valley this Friday, forcing residents on Moore Mountain to use the gated entrance at the Comer Street parking lot.
“We have had no consultation about this,” said Linda Hillegeist who has lived off and on an area locally known as Moore Mountain the last 22 years. “You cannot lock people into their homes. We are going to have to use a key to open and close the gate at the parking lot.”
The city’s manager of municipal services Gary Muraca said the decision to close the road is because of safety concerns.
“The road has washouts and in amongst that we made the determination,” Muraca said.
There was no room for public consultation because the city decided the road is unsafe, he added.
In 2008 a geotechnical study determined there were stability issues at that time.
Then in the spring of 2015 there were numerous washouts that made the road dangerous, Muraca said.
“When you couple that with winter snow, ice and large equipment, we didn’t feel comfortable maintaining the road in the winter. We decided we would do some reassessment in the spring and see if we can put some capital funding into the road to make it safer for everyone,” he added.
Residents first became aware of the city’s intent to close the road last Friday when one of the residents noticed a small note at the bottom of the Moore Mountain Road, which is adjacent to the parking lot located in the river valley.
“The note said to contact Gary Muraca at the city to arrange alternative access,” Hillegeist said.
Since the note went up Hillegeist has taken time off work to try and stop the closure, even suggesting that residents would maintain the Frizzi Road access.
“We also suggested the city could put up a sign saying people use the road at their own risk,” she said, adding many people use the road to recreate in the river valley.
Muraca said the idea isn’t prudent for a municipality.
“When you close a road you close a road,” he said.
The locked gate will be an inconvenience to the 17 residents, but it is the only solution Muraca said, adding the city is acting on the recommendation of a Moore Mountain resident to place a combination locked box at the gate with a key inside to be used by visitors.
The gate is locked because there is a railway crossing there and in the river valley there is infrastructure that has to be protected, he added.
City crews will plow the road and sand it to the bottom of the Moore Mountain Road at the parking lot, he said.
“I have made provisions to hand out keys to all of the residents,” he said.