The provincial government doesn’t want to be responsible for bush roads and that’s raising concerns in Lumby.
Some elected officials question the future of the Deafies Creek Road, between Lumby and Silver Star, if a private interest isn’t found to look after maintenance.
“If it’s not maintained, it could be deactivated,” said Lori Mindnich, a village councillor.
Victoria has developed a discussion paper that looks at roads primarily used by the natural resource sector, such as logging.
The paper suggests the government identify one maintenance contractor for each resource road and they will be assigned to the primary industrial or commercial user of the road. The user of the road would be obligated to contribute towards the cost of maintenance.
If a maintenance firm is not identified, a road could be closed.
The Deafies Creek Road provides access to a lodge used by hang gliders.
“Hang gliding is a big part of tourism locally and if the road is designated to be closed, that would have an economic impact on the community,” said Rick Fairbairn, regional district director for rural Lumby.
“This has implications for tourism.”
It has also been proposed over the years that the Deafies Creek Road could be upgraded and extended to allow for access between Lumby and Silver Star as a way of stimulating the economy.
Fairbairn hasn’t received any information that the Deafies Creek Road could be targeted for closure, but he believes the government’s shift away from maintaining road conditions is a form of downloading.
“Who is going to be responsible for these resource roads.”
The government is currently seeking input from municipalities and regional districts and Fairbairn says he will try and obtain more information about the process.
Mindnich says Lumby could not look after the road based on the government’s guidelines.
“The village is not in a position to maintain it. It has to be a private individual,” she said.