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Who should pay to have the Highway 101 drill removed?

Drivers wondering when road hazard will be removed
The stolen drill which fell off the trailer in West Sechelt on Jan. 31.

Early in the morning of Jan. 31, a low bed trailer and a rock drill were stolen from Halfmoon Bay. While the trailer made it to the ferry and got off the Coast, the drill fell off near the 6700 block of the Sunshine Coast Highway in West Sechelt. 

Three months later, the drill is still on the side of the highway. While the Coast’s latest landmark has become a creative outlet for the community – as they’ve added different signs to the machinery, ranging from for sale signs, provincial heritage markers, a free sign and spray paint – many have pointed out it’s a road hazard.

While authorities are slow to claim responsibility for the mass of machinery, the debate over whose job it is to get it off the side of the highway has started to resemble a carousel of finger pointing. 

The stolen equipment belonged to Kyle Trousdell, who works for a local logging company. He said that both the trailer and the drill were so old they were not worth insuring and explained that the trailer was for off-road use only. 

Last month, Toursdell told Coast Reporter the RCMP has asked him if he could remove it. Trousdell says that he has the equipment to get the drill off the side of the road, but believes he should be compensated for the work as he estimates it will cost him $10,000. 

Sunshine Coast RCMP’s Cst. Karen Whitby said last month that the RCMP are not involved with removing the drill from the side of the highway, and would not have asked the owner to remove it at cost. She suggested that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) may be handling the case.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said they were unable to provide information on the incident, adding that the RCMP remains the best source for information. 

Capilano Highways did not respond to Coast Reporter’s queries into this case.

Crime and punishment

RCMP confirmed that a person was arrested in early February and charged with possession of property obtained by crime and driving while prohibited. 

Trousdell says he was able to track down the trailer on his own, which had made its way to Langley – with no licence plates. 

Through a combination of social media, putting the word around and BC Ferries cameras, Trousdell located his trailer and gave the information to RCMP.

He believes at the very least the person who stole his equipment should be responsible for the cost of cleaning up the mess. 

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.