Friday, April 7, 2017

Another Northwest community hops onboard the Province's Highway 16 Transit plan

While Prince Rupert City Council and neighbouring communities may not be inclined to participate in it, a number of other Northwest communities are signing on with the Province of British Columbia's enhanced transit system plans for the Highway 16 corridor.

The latest to make plans to move forward with the program is the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine which is planning to offer a three day per week service that will connect a number of communities in the Upper Skeena region to Terrace.

The proposed service is expected to start later this spring and Kitimat-Stikine officials have proposed a fare of five dollars for those that may make use of the transportation option.

As part of the funding program in place for the new system, the cost of the buses is fully covered, while the B. C. government has announced it will fund two thirds of all operating costs.

The program is in place for a five year period, as part of the province's Highway 16 Transportation Action plan.

Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth, who chairs the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine heralded the cooperative nature of the various communities of the region to bring the project together.

“The Regional District is excited about creating new linkages between several communities in the Kitimat-Stikine district, including the local First Nations communities. This new transit service will provide safe, affordable transportation, and it will also strengthen the relationships between all of the communities. 

Thank you to Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc, New Hazelton Mayor Gail Lowry, Village of Hazelton Mayor Alice Maitland, rural director, Linda Pierre, Regional District Kitimat-Stikine and our First Nations partners for their time, effort and contribution to the expanded Highway 16 transit services.”

You can learn more about the proposed service in the Terrace/Kitimat region here

The North Coast remains one of he few spots on BC Transit's map
that won't be participating in an enhanced Regional Transit system

The number of communities that have taken up the offer of the province to join with the transit initiative is at a level now, that it's getting pretty lonely at far western end of Highway 16, which continues to hold fast to an original decision not to participate.

Just before Christmas, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain outlined the city's view on the proposed service and why Council had decided to go with a different approach.

Mr Brain noted at the time that "The City reached out to local area representatives from Port Edward, local First Nation groups and Provincial and Federal representatives regarding the proposal, and found many supporters for a localized solution."

The topic of the Provincial funding plan however was not part of any public council session, so it's unknown if the decision to turn aside the prospect of the Province's plans for these enhanced regional Transit systems was a unanimous one among the six other council members.

While Prince Rupert and the neighbouring communities aren't looking to participate in the provincial program at the moment, there is a possibility of another option that may soon be in place to provide some form of cost reduced transportation to Terrace for those in need.

As we noted in late March on the blog, the Friendship House recently was awarded grant funding for the purchase of a community shuttle bus.

Since we posted that item, Friendship House officials have noted that while plans aren't complete yet, there are some plans in motion that may see that vehicle used as a form of transportation to Terrace provided through the Prince Rupert organization.

More notes related to Transportation along the Highway 16 corridor can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. So... Where's the "Made in Rupert" plan? And where's the MLA, who you know was pulling for the whole project to be found?