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

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More calls come in for Cullen’s removal as NDP candidate

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs demand Cullen’s removal. Ellis says, There’s no place in B.C. for racism

An election tussle has now erupted over the long-dismantled Skeena Cellulose pulp mill on Watson Island, shown here in a 2013 photo. (File photo The Northern View)
Wilkinson, Horgan tagged over pulp mill file and legal battle

Case dates back to attempt to re-open closed Skeena Celluose pulp mill

ANBT 2021 is still in the planning, Peter Haugan event organizer said on Oct. 13. In the 2020 ANBT, Hydaburg’s T.J. Young drives along the baseline against Prince Rupert’s Brady Johnston. Hydaburg would defeat P.R, but fell to New Aiyansh in the next round. (The Northern View file photo)
All Native Basketball Tournament 2021 still in the planning

“If we cannot run it with our fans, we cannot run the tournament” - Peter Haugan

BC Liberal Party candidate for the North Coast Roy Jones Jr. will hold virtual face-to-face meetings for North Coast communities on Oct. 18. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
BC Liberal Candidate Roy Jones Jr, will meet constituents virtually

Face to face conversations will be held on Oct. 18 for North Coast communities

Steven Helin and Kayla Robinson lost everything they owned in a fire in Prince Rupert downtown core on Oct. 5 affecting three businesses and more than 10 rental units. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Aftermath of building fire

Flames of ruined hope

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Oak Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)
‘Buy a boat,’ Horgan advises anti-maskers on BC Ferries

NDP leader John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation

Most Read