A new plan from the Transportation Ministry is being hailed as a major step in addressing some of the issues along Highway 16, known as the Highway of Tears.
A symposium was held in March of 2006 and, from it, came a report with a series of recommendations, some of which involved transportation.
“The first recommendation was to provide a shuttle service or transportation between Prince George and Prince Rupert,” says Mary Teegee, Executive Director for the Carrier Sekani Family Services. ” There are a lot of reasons that people are hitchhiking along the highway and what do we do to develop a system to be able to access services, to get to where they need to and ensuring their safety.”
The plan sets out five course of action:
•$1.6 million over 2 years to extend or enhance BC Transit services to better connect communities,
•$750,000 over 3 years to support community-based transportation programs operated by First Nations, local governments or non-profit organizations,
•$150,000 over 3 years for a First Nations driver education program,
•$500,000 over 2 years for highway infrastructure safety improvements including webcams and transit shelters,
•Collaboration to increase inter-connectivity of services.
Mary Teegee with the Carrier Sekani Family Services calls it a “good first step.” She, and others, will be part of an advisory board.