Resident wants to see a cleaner highway in to Kitimat

A letter to Kitimat Mayor & Council wants to see the highway in to town better taken care of in terms of garbage clean-up.

Kitimat Council has been encouraged by a resident to make sure the highway in to Kitimat from the Snowflake sign gets cleaned up.

Such work, as the resident acknowledged, is not done by the municipality but rather is the domain of the Ministry of Transportation contractor for the highway. Even so the resident, Ted Bergen, says the town can play a role in cleaning it up, in what Bergen says is the absence of action by the contractor.

Bergen said he spoke with someone from the highway contractor last year and was told garbage is picked up every three to four months.

“I don’t really think this is accurate,” wrote Bergen to Kitimat Council.

A representative for the highway contractor Nechako Northcoast was not immediately available for comment.

Bergen said he’d be willing to work with the town to “at least try to keep our city limits looking like something we are proud of.”

Bergen also referred to the work of volunteer groups who had taken to the road to clean up trash on the highway up to Cablecar, saying that such clean-up events collected almost 200 bags of garbage from the Snowflake to the town site.

Kitimat Council took in the letter for information and gave staff direction to send the letter also to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The town also did contemplate their potential role in cleaning up the highway.

Mario Feldhoff recalled how the District pays for a person to help maintain cleanliness on the riverbank.

“Whether or not we need to have somebody like that helping us with the entrance to town, it may be a solution there,” he said.

Chief Administrative Officer Warren Waycheshen said that some communities do have regular volunteer groups doing clean up but cautioned that the town should talk to the contractor before the town looks to pursue that avenue.

“The one thing I would somewhat caution with this one is we wouldn’t want to be having and downloading of provincial responsibilities, to us to be paying for that,” he said.

Rob Goffinet added that the town could look at ways to cut down on garbage before it becomes litter, reacting to Mary Murphy’s recollection of an earlier attempt by council to create a bylaw on properly securing loads to the landfill.

Feldhoff sided with the CAO on the matter though, saying he didn’t want council duplicating work by other levels of government.

“I for one don’t want to replicate what is already law,” he said.