Searching for Hwy 16 Transportation Solutions
Smithers, B.C. – The Highway 16 Transportation symposium is underway in Smithers to address the transportation challenges along the Highway 16 corridor.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone says the one day symposium is “An excellent opportunity to bring all of the communities and representatives together to engage in a productive dialogue and to focus on transportation solutions along the corridor.” The agenda doesn’t indicate Stone will be in attendance, however, a deputy minister from his ministry will be on hand.
Carrier Sekani Tribal Chief Terry Teegee remains hopeful the symposium will produce some solutions for providing safe and adequate transportation along the highway “This is more of a working group type of meeting, where they don’t want any political pressure, so I hope they find some solutions.” There is only one politician on the list of invited participants, and that is the Mayor of the District of Fort St, James who will be making a presentation.
Representatives from First Nations from Prince George to Prince Rupert have been invited to take part. There were also invitations sent to Chief Administrative Officers from every community along the corridor. In the case of Prince George, the invitation to the symposium was sent to City Manager Kathleen Soltis. Jim Martin, the CAO of the Regional District of Fraser Fort George was also invited as was Oliver Ray, the Executive Director of the North Central Local Government Association.
The symposium agenda calls for discussion on the following areas:
* Sharing information about services that are available and what approaches could be undertaken to improve and or expand medical and non-medical travel along the Highway 16 corridor from Prince Rupert to Prince George;
* Building on the results from the recently conducted First Nations Transportation Survey along with lessons learned from previous community engagement, surveys and reports;
* Identifying First Nations and community solutions to increase availability and access to practical, sustainable and safe community transportation models.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone says the Province remains “committed to working together with community representatives to find practical and sustainable solutions to help provide safe travel options for citizens living in remote communities along Highway 16.”
Carrier Sekani Tribal Chief Terry Teegee is taking a wait and see approach ” I will evaluate after this meeting is over to see where they get and determine from there what the next move is in terms of trying to get adequate transportation.”