Highway 16 Transportation Plan Gets Budget Boost
l-r Lheidli T’enneh Elder Janet Kozar, MLA John Rustad, Chief Jackie Thomas, Mayor Lyn Hall, and MLA Mike Morris – photo 250News
Prince George BC – The plan to provide safe affordable transportation along the Highway 16 corridor has been given a budget boost.
A dozen northern communities and organizations will be receiving grants for community vehicles and that has added another $1.2 million to the project bringing the total budget to $6.4 million dollars over the next three years.
The Province will be picking up the tab for 70% of the vehicle costs, and 70% of the operational costs for the vehicle. Those receiving grants can purchase the vehicle that best suits their community’s needs.
The issue of safe transportation along the 16 corridor has been an issue for those who live along the corridor for many years, as a number of women have been murdered or gone missing along that stretch of highway. Chief Jackie Thomas of the Saik’uz First Nation is grateful for the news today, “I was there in 2006 when we did our first symposium here in Prince George and we gathered the families together. This was the first recommendation of the 34 we made that year, it is the most important, I am so happy to be standing here and saying thank you and I also look forward to more on those files, those 34 recommendations.”
MLA John Rustad noted transportation along the Highway 16 corridor “is always a challenge. It’s also particularly challenging because it’s tough because you don’t have taxi cabs for the most part, it’s tough to be able to work through various options, so people rely on their own vehicles, or rely on friends and family for the most part.” He says the transportation plan is a result of a symposium held in Smithers on how to improve safety along highway 16.
He says one of the things that a came out of the symposium was that different communities have different needs. The community vehicle program is a result of that consultation.
Communities receiving grants for community vehicles are:
* Binche Keyoh Bu Society – Binche and Tl’azt’en Community Connector
* Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society – Community Connections
* Fraser Lake and Area Community Bus Service
* Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert – 3 Sister Community Transportation Service
* Gingolx Village Government – Gingolx Transportation Service
* Gitanmaax Band – Gitanmaax Transportation Service
* Gitanyow Human Services – Gitanyow Connections Program
* Granisle Better at Home / Village of Granisle – Granisle Better at Home Transportation Services
* Kermode Friendship Society – Kermode Transportation Partnership Initiative
* Nee Tahi Buhn – Nee Tahi Buhn Community Transportation
* Saik’uz First Nation – District of Vanderhoof – Saik’uz – Vanderhoof Community Transportation
* Takla Lake First Nation – Driftwood Corridor Transportation Services
The City of Prince George has made a five year commitment of $50 thousand a year to the overall Highway 16 transportation plan.