Fate of 99 St trees remains in limbo

Susan Thompson
Express Staff

After a public information session on the south end infrastructure renewal process, local residents of Peace River’s River Road say they still have no definite answers about the fate of their neighbourhood trees.

Construction work on 99 St. has been delayed by the Town after residents hired an arborist and submitted a petition to save the trees on their street. Other parts of the phased infrastructure renewal continue to go ahead.

A public information session was held June 19 at Athabasca Hall in Peace River to review the changes for the 2019 south end construction program and to discuss project details. Peace River’s Mayor Tom Tarpey as well as Deputy Mayor Elaine Manzer and councillors Johanna Downing, Don Good, Byron Schamehorn and Colin Needham were all in attendance, an unusually strong showing for town council at an open house event.

River Road resident Melanie Bekevich-Joos has been involved in organizing the efforts to save the local trees and attended the meeting.

“Essentially we’re pleased to see the council is fully engaged on the project and it was wise to take the time necessary to re-evaluate the plan on 99st. We hope the 69 year old water main will be replaced while the road base is torn up or perhaps consider a fibreglass liner. We would not consider it acceptable if the Town were to delay this part of the project indefinitely,” says Bekevich-Joos.

However, Bekevich- Joos says she consulted a civil engineer from Grande Prairie who couldn’t see a reason to use open trench to do the work needed on 99 St., and that the Town could line the pipes with fibreglass lining and it would cost much less. However, local contractors do not do that type of work.

The construction work is being done by Velocity Group and Ruel Bros. Contracting, with Glen Armstrong Construction subcontracting.

“At this stage we will continue to be in communication with the Town and work in good faith as they find a solution. At the end of the day, residents and the Town want the same thing, to renew our infrastructure while preserving the natural beauty of our community,” says Bekevich-Joos.

Bekevich-Joos says the Town has told residents a decision will be made in the fall, and another meeting with residents will likely be held by December.

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