Skip to content

Provincial road within an inch of misery

Between last year and this spring, some 8,000 visitors travelled to Westwood Ranch Garden Centre, says Mark Humphries, proprietor of the family operated business. “ People are sticking with us and coming back,” he says, despite the roads.
Mark Humphries
Mark Humphries (l) facing Reeve Denis Carter (head of the table), Wallace-Woodworth Councillor Sandy Heaman, and Assistant CAO Carol-Anne Brethour is recording. Photo/Anne Davison

Between last year and this spring, some 8,000 visitors travelled to Westwood Ranch Garden Centre, says Mark Humphries, proprietor of the family operated business.

People are sticking with us and coming back,” he says, despite the roads. Located southwest of Elkhorn, getting to Westwood Ranch means traveling over gravel.
In the May 26 council meeting, Humphries told R.M. of Wallace- Woodworth councillors that 2,343 visitors complained of the roads they had to travel, to get to his business.

The greenhouse, zoo, petting farm, and amusement area has wowed customers sufficiently to see them return. However, this spring the roads were worse than ever, wringing complaints from
Humphries, to several levels of government, including a person in Brandon in charge of Provincial Highways.

Westwood Ranch Garden Centre, is located 16 kms south of the Kirkella provincial visitor centre on the TransCanada Highway, down Provincial Road 542, which Humphries states is terrible when
it is wet. “We’re only ever an inch away from misery.” An inch of rain that is.

As a business owner this ratepayer is desperate to have the roads to his property fi xed - particularly PR #542. He pleaded with council to work on the problem. Denis Carter, reeve
of the R.M., assured Humphries that the municipality would be lobbying the province to fix the roads. Carter said,

“Every time you see your MLA, you tell him about [the roads].” Humphries responded, “Oh, he’s been down.” “We need to get these roads fixed,” stated the

Highway signs
The Kola area businessman was also disturbed because his business relies on highway signage. “They come for a day, out from Brandon or Moosomin.” The shortest route from Virden to the greenhouse and zoo is on pavement, PR #256 to Kola. From Kola travelers take PR #542 for a few miles north to Humphries’ municipal road 60N.

However, since the damaged bridge on PR #256 (near Virden’s Wellview Golf Course) is now a temporary structure with a traffic light bottlenecking traffic, the signage on the TransCanada for Kola is
Another ratepayer, Adam Bajus attended the May 26 meeting with a complaint about signage for Kola. He said, “Since the flood, there’s no directions to Kola.” Bajus spoke of a client from Brandon who was headed to his property, but wasted an hour, with no road signage to Kola.
“When you come from the east, there’s no sign that says, ‘Kola’, because the sign where it did say ‘Kola’, there’s no road,” he said, pointing out there are no signs for alternate routes.

To make matters worse for the Humphries business, PR #542 (from the TransCanada south), was ‘punched-out’ with heavy oil traffic this spring. The road on the Saskatchewan side south from
Fleming, to road 60N, is usually a reliable route. “But three weeks ago they closed it,” due to an oil rig move - heavy equipment.

“So my good access is shut... from either of the hard tops,” he told council.

At the meeting, Bajus also asked about the frequency of road maintenance in the west side of Wallace-Woodworth. Councillor Heaman noted that concerns should be delivered to the R.M. office.

Reeve Carter, unfamiliar with the Wallace side of the amalgamated municipality, asked how the roads were handled before. Bajus responded, “With our private contractor, our heavy use roads
were getting done twice a week. Now we’re seeing it every eight to nine days.” The ratepayer went on to commend the R.M. saying, “You have a very good of the best I’ve ever seen. We would just like to see more of him.”

The reeve pointed out that the long term plan would be to move some equipment to the western side of the municipality. “It just hasn’t got done yet.”
Bajus also nudged the council regarding school zone signage around Kola School. His simple request was for a letter to be sent to Fort La Bosse School Division requesting signs be put up, to protect children, particularly during bus loading and unloading. Council acknowledged this request.

Adam Bajus was on the previous R.M. of Wallace council. He asked to go in camera with Wallace-Woodworth Council, to candidly discuss other drainage/infrastructure issues, which Reeve Carter
agreed to.

In a recent interview, since the May 26 council meeting, Mark Humphries reports, “The actual [municipal] road - they’ve listened to us. In fairness to Wallace-Woodworth, in the week following that
meeting, they’ve graveled it and graded it, every few days.

“It’s fantastic,” says the British-born businessman. “For us and everyone else on the road - big improvements.” But the gravel PR #542 still carries heavy oil traffic. Humphries now advises travellers on the paved PR #256 to turn north just before entering the town of Kola, at the sign for Kola Evangelical Church. “This takes you down to municipal road 60N which runs straight west to Westwood Ranch.

It’s a smoother road.”

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks