Stone announces Highway 16 safety funding

The B.C. government announced a $3-million plan to improve safety measures along Highway 16 from Prince George to Prince Rupert

The B.C. government announced a $3-million plan to improve safety measures along Highway 16 from Prince George to Prince Rupert.

The five-point action plan aims to improve access to transportation services along the highway corrider  also known as “The Highway of Tears” for the 19 women who have been confirmed murdered or missing by the RCMP.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone said “There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to addressing the challenges along the corridor and this action plan provides flexibility for communities to determine how to best apply new funding to meet their specific needs.”

The plan will include $1.6-million over two years to expand BC Transit services; $750,000 over three years for a community transportation grant program to be operated by First Nations, local governments and non-profit groups; $150,000 over three years to create a First Nations driver education program; $500,000 over two years to improve infrustructure along the highway with webcams and transit shelters; and a collaboration effort with BC Transit, Northern Health, non-profit organizations and private transport providers to synchronize schedules.

A nine-person Highway 16 Transportation Advisory Group will implement the strategy and create a process for local communities to apply for grant funding. In January and February the Ministry of Transportation will meet with the advisory group to fine-tune the plan.

The government’s proposal has been met with some skepticism. North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice said in an email, “This is a first step, but only a real solution if followed by other significant steps such as stable sustainable funding for reliable public transport. Even after this announcement, it is still a patchwork solution but given how this government has dragged its heels for years and even deleted records about the Highway of Tears, I’m really glad to finally see some steps being taken to a solution.”

Rice is concerned that the announment makes funding commitments for two or three years but northern communities need a yearly commitment.

She also critiques the plan to improve technology with webcams.

“While I support investing in technology, providing continuous cell coverage along the Highway 16 corridor from Prince Rupert to Prince George is a far more superior technology investment as far as safety is concerned. That is something I, and many of my constituents would like to see,” Rice said.

The leader of the B.C. Conservative party, Dan Brooks, is concerned that the plan is to share costs with financially struggling communities. In a press release Brooks said it was a “pathetic funding announcement” and “another example of northern neglect.”

The five-points plan was developed after the Ministry of Transporation and the First Nations Health Authority held a transportation symposium in Smithers on Nov. 24. The foundations of the plan were based on feedback and recommendations from participants.

The regional chief for the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, Shane Gottfriedson, was encouraged by the action plan to improve safety and security.

“As the national lead for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, I am heartened to hear of this important first step to take action on the safety and transportation for our brothers and sisters of the north,” he said.

 

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

Just Posted

Rose Sawka, 91, reaches out to her son Terry Sawka, on a daily visit through the window, from inside Acropolis Manor where a COVID-19 outbreak took hold on Jan 19. Rose was vaccinated for the virus on Jan. 20 and as of Feb. 25 has remained virus free. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
No increases of COVID-19 at Acropolis -16 residents now recovered

Vaccinations have helped to stabilize Prince Rupert long-term care facility virus numbers

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

BC Bus North was implemented under the NDP provincial government in 2018 when Greyhound cancelled services across northern BC. The transportation funding expires at the end of March 2021. (Photo: B.C. Transit)
BC Liberals call for immediate govt. renewal of BC Bus North funding

BC Liberals spent years ignoring need for better transportation in the North - Jennifer Rice, MLA

Prince Rupert Tourism is benefitting from funding for new welcome and wayfinding signage from the COVID-19 Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. McClymont Park on the gateway into Prince Rupert is one of the first things tourists see entering the city by road. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
$695,000 Community Economic Recovery funds to benefit local organizations

Prince Rupert Tourism and Gitga’at Development Corporation to receive COVID-19 recovery funds

Wainwright Marine Services Ltd.’s “Ingenika” tugboat went missing in the Garner Canal area south and east of Kitimat on Feb. 11, resulting in two deaths and the rescue of a third man. (Wainwright Marine Photo)
Tug union demands Transport Canada protect workers along B.C. coast and rivers

ILWU makes safety demands following the deaths of two men and the rescue of a third

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read