Several Lone Butte residents are so fed up with a blocked culvert near the community’s water tower park that they’re threatening to do the work themselves to clear it.
A handful of residents – most of them members of the Lone Butte Historical Society – gathered Saturday with shovels in hand in a bid to galvanize the provincial government into action. They were led by longtime resident Alan Boyd, who said he’s been trying for more than a decade to get the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to fix the problem, which has a habit of flooding near the town’s landmark water tower park and rest stop but keeps getting the runaround, as the land is apparently CN Rail property.
“I said, well it’s your road, your culvert, you put it in there, you should keep it open,” said Boyd, who has lived in the South Cariboo since 1956.
Boyd, who used a metal detector to show where the culvert runs beneath the ice and water that currently obscures it, said the blockage was likely caused by the backwash from trucks that gradually filled the pipe. He estimates the issue has been going on for close to 20 years and with the culvert completely plugged it will only stagnate. School buses use the turnoff to pick up children, Boyd added, who have to put gumboots on to get to their bus.
Boyd had previously owned a nearby property close to the culvert and said he had to cross by the mudhole that had formed on the blocked end for many years on his way to work.
In preparation for unblocking the culvert, Boyd said he’s hauled two concrete barriers down to set up in front of it to prevent the truck backwash from refilling it. That work, coupled with their gathering on Saturday, was done with the intention to “make a little noise” and draw attention to the issue.
“This has gone on for way too long,” Boyd said. “We might be exposing ourselves to the highway’s ire but I’m not afraid of that.”