Stephanie Brown
Contributor
The Navigator

Photo by Stephanie Brown

The temporary road closure in Nanaimo at Pine St. and Fifth St. remains in effect as of October 17 with an unannounced date of when the road will be accessible again.

The closure is due to a void underneath the road caused by a failing shallow coal mine. Geotechnical assessment of the area has yet to decide the best plan of action for addressing how to rectify the situation. The road closure will remain in effect until the mine is rendered safe.

According to Steve Ricketts, the construction manager for the City of Nanaimo, the mine shaft is more like a room below the street than an actual tunnel or shaft.

“It is referred to as mine workings,” said Ricketts. It runs roughly 12 metres deep for the two metres of coal that was excavated. Ricketts said the area under surveillance is localized to the street and is not affecting the residents and businesses in the area. The residences of the area still have access to the road, which allows them to park their vehicles on their properties.

404 Victoria Rd. is one of these residences, and this particular home is currently for sale. When asked if the road closure has impacted the sale, Cody Dreger said “showings are still steady,” and he hasn’t noticed too much of a change. Dreger also mentioned that he has not heard from either the owners or other realtors showing the house that the shallow mine shaft is a concern to potential buyers.

For other commuters in the area, road closure signs and detour signs are available to help re-route traffic through the area.

Two residents of the neighborhood passing by the area were unaware of the reason for the road closure. “Maybe it’s construction,” one resident said. There is no signage in the area explaining why the road is closed to traffic, just many pylons preventing vehicles from using the small connecting street.

Any questions regarding the failing mine and road closure can be addressed to Susan Clift, Director of Engineering and Public Works for the City of Nanaimo, at 250-756-5301.

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