By Tim Kalinowski
Cypress County will spend $180,000 out of next year’s gravelling budget on much needed Undeveloped Road Allowance maintenance work. The $180,000 will be redesignated for the this purpose annually, and will be have no cost sharing requirement. The money will be used exclusively for filling low spots with pit-run and gravel. Any more extensive work requested by landowners on an Undeveloped Road Allowance, such as more extensive surface gravelling or culvert installation, would still be done on a 50/50 cost share basis with the County.
The compromise was reached after 45 minutes of exhaustive debate among council members at last Tuesday’s meeting. Reeve Darcy Geigle summarized the dilemma facing council in trying to find the right balance and budget to do this type of maintenance work.
“I have my own roads like this,” said Geigle. “I’m not saying there isn’t a need to do something, but I don’t know how you control it.”
Geigle pointed out there was 3,200 km of these kinds of market trails in Cypress County.
In the end it was Coun. Richard Oster who suggested the dollar figure of $180,000 annually be taken out of the county’s gravelling fund, which has recorded large surpluses the last few years, and Coun. Dustin Vossler who suggested the final wording of the motion passed on Tuesday.
“As for these low spots on these roads, I don’t think it is going to cost us an abundance to take a load and start throwing in a few loads of gravel in,” said Vossler. “I don’t think it’s going to be as expensive as we think. So we set a budget, and we take a look at the roads that are brought to our attention, and we pick so many a year that meets our budget. And we go at it like that, and we make a little more progress eventually. This an option that keeps it under control and at least gets some of it done.”
Several landowners with terrible roads were in the gallery during the council debate. Charlie Redpath was one of those present. He said the $180,000 in yearly funding redesignated by council was a good start to begin making progress on the issue.
“I have land where I have problems with (my road access) too, with holes and water laying in them; and I think the County should be looking after that,” stated Redpath after the vote. “I don’t think they should be worrying so much about what’s going to happen next year or the year after, and it might be a dry year. There might be lots of time to fix those problems. I think it’s a step in the right direction, but let’s get moving on this.”