Paving half the road ‘makes no sense’

By on May 15, 2017
Jerralynn D’Alfonso, who owns a home on 100th Street just outside Town of Osoyoos boundaries, is upset and frustrated that the street will only be half paved when a infrastructure project to replace water pipes and install fire hydrants is completed in the next week or so. (Keith Lacey photo)

Jerralynn D’Alfonso, who owns a home on 100th Street just outside Town of Osoyoos boundaries, is upset and frustrated that the street will only be half paved when a infrastructure project to replace water pipes and install fire hydrants is completed in the next week or so. (Keith Lacey photo)

An Osoyoos area homeowner who has been trying for several years to get the street where she lives upgraded and paved is frustrated it might not happen this spring considering a major infrastructure project is already taking place.

Instead, she has found out “half the road is going to be paved and that just doesn’t make any sense.”

Jerralynn D’Alfonso has been living in her home on 100th Street, which is located only 500 metres from the Town of Osoyoos boundary, for 17 years.

“I’ve lived on this street for the past 17 years and it has never been paved,” said D’Alfonso. “I’ve been working for the past five years trying to do everything I can to get this road paved, but I just run into brick walls and everyone passes the buck.”

As most local residents have observed over the past several weeks, the Town of Osoyoos has engaged in a major upgrade of water lines from town boundaries to Irrigation District 8 and 9.

Part of that infrastructure project has seen all of the water pipes replaced along 100th Street, including in front of D’Alfonso’s home, as well as the installation of new fire hydrants.

“We’re very happy to be getting the new water pipes and fire hydrants,” she said.

However, she has been informed that once the infrastructure work has been completed, only half of the roadway – the part that was dug up to install new pipes – along the full length of 100th Street will be repaved, she said.

“When the work is done, I’ve been told by the construction crews that they’re only going to repave half of our street,” she said. “That makes absolutely no sense to me at all. I personally think it’s a giant waste of taxpayers’ money.”

This would be the perfect time to have the entire street paved, but she has talked to officials with the Town of Osoyoos, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) and staff with MLA Linda Larson’s office and it has become abundantly and frustratingly clear it doesn’t appear that’s what’s going to happen, said D’Alfonso.

Because her home is located only hundreds of metres from town boundaries – and is therefore deemed to be located in the RDOS – any road repairs and upgrades fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MTOI).

A representative from the RDOS said all road projects in the Regional District are managed by the ministry.

“The RDOS has no jurisdiction over roads in the Regional District,” she said. “If this road was located within town boundaries, it would be the responsibility of the town, but because it’s located in the RDOS, that responsibility lies with the ministry.”

Senior management with the Town of Osoyoos, including CAO Barry Romanko, have been very helpful and co-operative, but made it very clear repaving all of 100th Street is not within their jurisdiction or budget, she said.

She has also talked to Mark Pendergraft, the longtime Area representative on the RDOS board of directors, about her concerns and he also told her roads don’t fall under RDOS jurisdiction, she said.

Staff in Larson’s office knows all about her concerns and have been helpful relating to her complaints, but all decisions over funding of road projects is made by the MTOI.

Several calls by the Osoyoos Times to the Ministry of Transportation regional office in Penticton were not returned.

D’Alfonso remains incredulous that different levels of government can’t work more closely together to ensure projects like this would benefit everyone.

“It really is upsetting,” she said. “I’ve been trying for five years now to get this road paved and talked continually with the RDOS and our MLA’s office and they’ve tried their best to answer my questions, but I still can’t get any satisfaction,” she said. “It just makes sense that if you’re going to dig up our street, this would be the perfect time to finish that job and then repave the entire street, instead of just half of it. This is the perfect opportunity.”

“The standard answer I’ve received for more than five years is it has to be approved in the budget and funding for this project (100th Street paving) has never even been up for discussion in the 17 years I’ve been living on this street,” she said.

There are less than a dozen houses on 100th Street, but most of them are large, elegant homes and every homeowner “pays big taxes,” she said.

“We want our road paved just like everyone else,” she said. “But it just seems like the different levels of government don’t work together in any way. To pave half a street instead of the whole thing is such a waste.”

D’Alfonso said she will not give up her battle.

“I still believe this would have been the perfect time to get the job done because they’re going to repave half the road after the water pipes are installed,” she said. “But if that’s not going to happen, I’m not giving up.”

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

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