Preferred Site of New Prince George Transit Facility Unveiled
Prince George, B.C. – “It’s a great day for transit in Prince George.”
The words of Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall as he gathered with other dignitaries outside Kin 1 today for the announcement of the preferred site for the new BC Transit operations and maintenance facility – the corner of Foothills Boulevard and 18 Avenue – behind Exhibition Park and at the bottom of University Hill (the current facility is located far on the south side of the city).
So, why Foothills and 18th?
“It was a concerted effort between BC Transit and the City of Prince George,” said Hall. “We looked at a number of properties in the community and felt that one had the best location logistically.”
“Often, we don’t give enough emphasis to the need for transit in rural communities, or smaller urban centres like Prince George,” added Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond. “When you’re talking about Vancouver or the Lower Mainland it’s all that anybody wants to talk about but it’s really critical here too. It allows people t be connected to their jobs and to their school and to their families.”
Aaron Lamb, vice-president of asset management with BC Transit, said once complete the facility will feature five-bays and a bus wash – something the current facility doesn’t have – plus room for future growth.
He also added:“The fleet in Prince George is 35 buses right now. There’s 27 conventional buses and eight for the handyDART system. So, for the transit facility, once that’s in place, you’re going to see a transition of the fleet to new clean-burning compressed natural gas buses.”
(According to FortisBC, using CNG reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 25 per cent, and costs 25 to 50 per cent less than diesel fuel.)
The City of Prince George will be starting a rezoning process for the preferred site that will include a public information meting in advance of the public engagement component.
The meeting will take place March 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the new Kin Centre where BC Transit and City staff will be available to answer questions.
BC Transit says the project represents a $23 million commitment in Prince George transit.The new facility is part of the almost $160 million in federal and provincial funding that was announced last year.
The City of Prince George is also contributing 17 per cent of the funding for the project – up to $3.8 million. A portion of that investment will be in land value and a portion of it will be in budgeted dollars.
The tentative completion date for the project is in 2019.
Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris also announced that bus service will soon be implemented between Prince George and Burns Lake as part of the government’s Highway 16 Transit Project.
(Earlier this year bus service was put in place between Burns Lake and Smithers).
“We’ll have service three times a week and service will start as soon as we can get the contractors and buses lined up.”