Release nothing but a smoke screen

On Feb. 4, three groups issued a joint news release on the projected extra costs to maintain the public road.

Editor:

On Feb. 4, three groups issued a joint news release on the projected extra costs to maintain the public road from the Prosperity Mine project site to Hanceville, which is a gravel road.

Also from Hanceville to Williams Lake on Highway 20, which is paved.

The figure of $42.2 million over 20 years is $2,100,000 per year for rehabilitation and $800,000 for maintenance per year.

This roadway system has 50 seven- and eight-axle trucks, currently,  a day hauling out the last of dead pine that was attacked by the Mountain Pine Beetle.

These trucks are making two trips a day, so is equivalent to 100 single loads.

The news release does not take into account the fuel taxes or the carbon tax that B.C. charges per litre.

This is the money that is utilized to maintain the road system in BC.

More traffic, more tax paid. The taxpayers may be on the hook for some costs, but the royalties from the mine will be substantially more than the quoted amounts.

Every year some rehabilitation is done[usually paving] to maintain Highway 20.

The weather and traffic demand that the Ministry of Transportation has to keep up with this program.

The author is right about the breakup period when the frost is coming out of the roads and loads have to be reduced to 70 per cent, but he failed to mention that during the period from Nov. 1 to about the mid point in February that the load limit is 120 per cent.

Then it is reduced to 100 per cent and hauling is only done at night.

When the MOT dictates then the road bans go on, the loads go to 70 per cent.

If the mine was to haul at 100 per cent during breakup, it would have to post a bond to guarantee any abnormal repair costs.

This news release is nothing but a smoke screen for groups who fail to see the whole picture.

The revenue  for different levels of government is quite substantial and is miles ahead of the added cost of maintaining the road system.

Bill Carruthers

Williams Lake