Attendees of Tuesday’s “Transportation Symposium” in Smithers have expressed mixed opinions about the event. The evening aimed to bring together minds to tackle transportation issues along Highway 16.
North Coast NDP MLA Jennifer Rice says there was great ideas shared about potential travel solutions. However she’s concerned there weren’t any concrete plans moving forward.
“At the end of the day, no timeline of when any of these recommendations will ever come into effect, if they’ll come into effect, no money announced.”
Rice remains sceptical because of what she feels was inactivity from previous symposiums, but is optimistic that safe travel can be attained along Highway 16.
“I don’t think it’s going to blow the budget. I think it’s actually going to help increase the budget because we’re going to see more thriving communities and that’s ultimately what everyone wants to see. So let’s do it!”
She added that the right people must be included in the conversation to find solutions.
Rice and many other MLA’s and First Nations leaders were not initially invited to the Symposium.
On the other side of the coin, First Nations Health Authority spokesperson Mark Matthew feels great strides were made at the event, and doesn’t believe it’s fair to compare this event to years past.
“We have some potential in the new political environment that we’ve arrived at over the past few months.” Matthew said “I think there are strong motivations from our partners in government to see some action on this, so we’re looking forward to being involved,”
He believes that improvements can be made in the near future.
“More or less, tweaks to scheduling and frequency and acknowledging the services that are available currently that may have, not huge impacts, but definitely lead us down the right path.”
26 indigenous groups were invited to Tuesday’s event.
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