All Nations Driving Academy founder Lucy Sager (left) and the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark after the $360,000 funding announcement in Terrace Aug. 15. (Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard)

All Nations Driving Academy founder Lucy Sager (left) and the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark after the $360,000 funding announcement in Terrace Aug. 15. (Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard)

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

The provincial government announced an additional $360,000 for the All Nations Driving Academy, a Terrace-based driving school aimed at increasing access for remote First Nation communities.

Melanie Mark, the minister of advanced education, skills and training, was in Terrace Aug. 15 to make the announcement with the school’s founder, Lucy Sager, Kitsumkalum chief Don Roberts, Kitselas councillor Cyril Nabess-Bennett, and others. The money is from the province’s $30 million Indigenous Skills and Training Development Fund.

“At the First Nations Leadership Gathering, all of the chiefs talked about driving being a huge issue, a huge barrier to their communities. Every single chief said, ‘Our members can’t get to their medical appointments. They can’t go to school, they can’t get a job, they can’t hunt and fish because of barriers like driver training,” Mark says. “We have to do everything we can to reduce those barriers.”

READ MORE: Terrace dominates ThriveNorth Business Challenge

Sager started the All Nations Driving Academy after similarly realizing transportation can be a difficult issue in remote communities, especially when there are vast distances separating residents from services like driving schools. A majority of the thousands of new trades jobs expected in the region over the coming years will require applicants to have a driver’s licence.

“This allows us to keep going. When people don’t have a job, they don’t have funding for driver training, they’re just stuck in this perpetual cycle. It’s just fantastic that [the ministry] sees the value here,” Sager says. “I think we’re just getting started.”

The All Nations Driving Academy provides driver training and evaluation. The driving instructors are licensed through ICBC under the Motor Vehicle Act and are certified to teach in the classroom and in the car. The program works by sending instructors to meet with students for training before they go into a larger centre and take the test.

In January, LNG Canada gave an initial $80,000 to engage 200 people from 13 First Nation communities across six towns. The additional funding from province means another 800 people will have access to the program.

“The demand has been overwhelming. In Indigenous communities, what we’ve seen especially along Highway 16 is only about five to 45 per cent of people actually have a licence — which means up to 95 per cent of people don’t have a licence,” Sager says. “It’s not about just going to work. It’s about safety. Not only is it about the Highway of Tears, it’s about fleeing forest fires. When people can’t drive, they can’t leave.”

All Nations Driving Academy has received a number of awards since it began, including recognition from the Skeena-Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics (SNCIRE), and ThriveNorth Business Challenge.

The academy also encourages communities to own and operate their own driving schools. The Haisla Driving School in Kitimat was opened with help from the program, and Sager says the academy is working with Burns Lake Native Development Corporation to open a school there.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of TerraceDrivingFirst Nationskitimat

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

The Cancer Care Unit at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, April 14, will benefit from a $100,000 donation from Prince Rupert Port Authority towards renovations. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Port Authority donates $100,000 to hospital renovations

Cancer Care Unit at PRRH to undergo upgradesat PRRH to undergo upgrades

Teresa Van sorts bottles at the April 10 Rainmakers Interact Club bottle drive to earn funds for six Seabin garbage collection units for harbours and waterfronts in the local region. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Bottle drive successful with more collected than can be sorted in one day

Rainmakers Interact Club supports local community with funds toward ocean garbage collection units

Flights are to resume to Prince Rupert and Sandspit airports under an Air Canada and federal government $5.9 billion agreement that was reached on April 12. A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
$5.879 billion agreement between Air Canada and Fed’s will assist YPR in re-opening

Prince Rupert Regional Airport to reopen flights by June 1st, if not earlier

BC Housing townhouses on Kootenay Ave. were demolished during March to make way for new affordable residential units by Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Despite a recent reduction in units project will still be able to house many

Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society says 60 units is still the plan

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, Minister Responsible for Housing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. announces $2B for affordable, middle-income family home projects

HousingHub financing to encourage more developers, groups – with low-interest loans – to build affordable homes

Most Read