Trees and mud on North Bonaparte Road after a slide on April 7. Lorne Smith photos.

Residents of North Bonaparte Road frustrated by ongoing road issues

The same section of road has experienced flooding and mudslides within the past month and a half

Mudslides and flooding have continued to plague the residents of North Bonaparte Road in the Pressy Lake Area.

“There are tons and tons of debris up there threatening to fall every time it does rain, more comes down,” said Lorne Smith, a full-time resident on the road.

According to Smith, a resident of the area, a mudslide occurred on the road at roughly 10 a.m. on April 7, covering the road with trees and mud. It is the same section (between Prydatok and Rayfield roads) of road that was flooded and closed on March 19.

The response by local governmental agencies has been a source of frustration for residents, including Smith.

Smith described having to call several different agencies, including the Ministry of Transportation, elected officials and Interior Roads. At times it has been a struggle getting a hold of anyone.

“You call Interior Roads and (you’re) getting them in 100 Mile. No, that’s not their jurisdiction, it’s Clinton’s. So you phone Clinton and they’re not open, so I phoned the emergency number and they transferred me to Clinton and they are apparently coming out here sometime today,” Smith said on April 7.

He called their responses to the ongoing issue as reactive, usually a day or two later.

“They’ll come in and grade it [and] it’s good for a couple of days, then we get a day a heavy rain and then the hillside comes down and it takes them a day or two to clean that up,” said Lorne. “With all the burn here in the area and the loggers that are in here now the roads are just horrendous. As for a proactive approach on the hillside, we’ve heard nothing. Maybe they have something planned but we’ve heard nothing.”

Two years ago, Smith and other residents of Pressy Lake lost their residences during the 2017 wildfires, which adds a more personal frustration to the mix. Smith only got back into his new home to now have to deal with the issue of flooding and mudslides on North Bonaparte Road that have occurred for the past month and a half.

While many residents along the road are seasonal, Smith said there is a good chunk of full-time residents. He said he would like to see the road maintained monthly, opposed to once every three or four months and when events occur.

“Whether they have the money or the time or the resources to fix this situation, I’m not sure, but in a perfect world I wish they would come here and maintain the road more often and also stabilize this hillside because it’s going to be an ongoing issue.”

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said they understand the concerns in the area, acknowledging the impact from the wildfires in 2017.

“The ministry and our maintenance contractor, Interior Roads Ltd., will continue to closely monitor the road to ensure it remains safe for drivers,” said Danielle Pope, media relations for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Once the spring freshet period is over, the ministry will review this area from an engineering perspective to see if there may be further stabilization measures that could be considered.”

Pope also mentioned that Interior Roads has a 24-hour toll-free line where people can report incidents. The line is 1-800-842-4122.

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