One of many avalanche deposits that hit Highway 16 during a closure for high avalanche hazard over recent weeks. (Skeena District Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

One of many avalanche deposits that hit Highway 16 during a closure for high avalanche hazard over recent weeks. (Skeena District Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

In Our Opinion: Stranded Kaien Islanders

Planes, trains and automobiles are useless when it comes to this winter’s snow

Transportation woes have plagued the North Coast as of late, first with winter storms and now with Greyhound pulling its passenger service.

More and more, Kaien Island is starting to actually feel like an island. The cost of leaving involves both tremoundous amounts of time and money.

Both the senior and junior boys Rainmakers team know all about it. The senior boys spent more than 27 hours stranded on a train due to weather-related traffic. Then on Friday, the junior boys missed a chance to shine at provincials when a weather-related flight cancellation to Vancouver left them stranded in Terrace.

READ MORE: CHSS junior boys miss provincials after flight cancelled for Vancouver

Another challenge has been the highway itself. Even if you own a vehicle, this winter has seen five extended Highway 16 closures and many delays for avalanche control between Prince Rupert and Terrace. In an online poll last month, 16 people said a Highway 16 closure this winter caused them to miss a flight.

Then last week, when Greyhound’s departure from northern B.C. was blessed by the Passenger Transportation Board and the opportunity to escape this island, even for a short while, disappeared. There is the $5 bus to Terrace that runs twice a week from the Friendship House, but it leaves during work hours on weekdays.

There is a glimmer of hope for our marine highway at least. The NDP budget promised on Feb. 20 that it’s reducing BC Ferries fares by 15 per cent starting April 1.

READ MORE: BC Budget’s Top 10 promises the North Coast will care about

A glimmer of cost savings. That means, instead of paying $263 for a car and two passengers to go to Haida Gwaii they’ll be paying $223. Or paying $881 for a car and two passengers to Port Hardy it’ll cost $748. Not exactly affordable for the average person on minimum wage, but it’s start. When will we get a“resident rate” and treat the route as an essential marine highway? But hey, we’ll take anything to improve our transportation options.



newsroom@thenorthernview.com

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