A number of icy phone calls have left AIMRoads employees frostbitten as snow continues to hammer the South Okanagan.
Lee-Ann Brulé, communication centre supervisor for the highway maintenance contractor, said call centre employees have been the subject of threats, swearing and “quite nasty” phone calls.
“We take all the calls from the public in regards to complaints or compliments or whatever for the road,” she explained. “Just since the big snow storm started back in December, we’ve been getting more and more angry people because they’re not getting their roads cleaned as much as they think they should.”
AIMRoads took over Argo’s contract for the Okanagan last summer, and has two contracts for the highways as well as some rural and arterial roads.
She hopes residents will be patient with the crews, adding there are approximately 90 employees on the roads.
“I used to work (elsewhere) … and I’ve heard angry people before, but not to this extent,” Brulé said. “Just have patience, we’re doing the best that we can. The guys are out there working hard 24 hours a day. You may not see them all the time when they’re out there, but they’re there.
“My people in the communications room, they’re there 24 hours a day as well. They don’t mind hearing from people, but you know – just be nice.”
Some callers, she added, have lied to employees, saying they’ve had to call ambulances which are then unable to respond due to the conditions of the road near their homes.
“They could be charged by B.C. Ambulance for falsifying a call,” warned Brulé. “We just keep track of it, and if there are repeat callers, we just keep it on file.”