Highway of Tears Plan ‘A Long Time Coming’
Prince George, B.C. – “A long time coming.”
That’s how Mary Teegee, executive director with Carrier Sekani Family Services and chair of the Highway of Tears Initiative, feels about the five point action plan announced today for safe transportation options along Highway 16.
“I think it’s a long time in coming considering it was 2006 when the Highway of Tears recommendations report came out,” she says. “And of course the Highway of Tears Initiative was developed to implement those recommendations.”
The $3 million plan includes funding for such things as transit expansion, a community grant program to purchase and operate vehicles, and highway safety infrastructure improvements.
Teegee, who has also been appointed to a new nine-member advisory group to oversee implementation of the plan, cautions it’s just a start.
“It’s been a long time coming but it’s definitely just a start because it’s only $3 million over three years and considering the vast expanse of northern B.C. that won’t go a long way.”
Does she think the plan will make the 750 km stretch of highway from Prince George to Prince Rupert safer?
“I think it’s going to be a start but keep in mind that much of these funds in the announcement are on a cost-sharing basis with local communities, with non-profits, First Nations and local government,” says Teegee.
“Considering the economy in the North, especially in First Nations communities that have high unemployment rates, how realistic will that be to do cost-sharing to fix a transportation system?”