A policy resolution on Highway 3 improvements was passed unanimously and put into priority at the B.C. Chamber of Commerce AGM in Prince George recently.
Spearheaded by Pam McLeod, executive director at the Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce, the policy resolution calls for timely completion of the proposed economic impact study, aggressive investment into Highway 3 improvements from the provincial government and that the provincial government accept the Highway 3 Coalition’s recommendations on improvements.
McLeod said 200 people attended the AGM and over 450 voted on the policy resolution, proving this is an issue people are ready to deal with.
She said she began researching for the piece in November.
“I had done an outreach with Mayor Boggs in Trail and Mayor Chernoff for information for this policy piece,” she said. “I did believe strongly that this would pass as a high priority item because there has already been some groundwork done.”
Both McLeod and Chernoff said having a policy passed at the provincial level will be a great support to the already-existing Highway 3 Coalition, to which Chernoff belongs.
“I agree with what the chamber is doing,” he said. “We’re looking at changing the focus to get some focus on Highway 3.”
He said it was “great” to see support from the chamber.
“When you back up the chamber, you’re backing up the businesses,” he said.
In the policy piece, McLeod wrote Alberta is making improvements to the highway on their side of the border, so B.C. should do the same.
She also noted the highway crosses several mountain ranges, which can sometimes be termed as ‘an adventure,’ especially in winter conditions.
“There are many steep hills, bridge crossings and sharp, blind corners to negotiate, with relatively few passing lanes in sections where they are badly needed to facilitate traffic movements, and for safety,” McLeod wrote.
After the vote, McLeod said she received a verbal confirmation that a socio-economic study will be done on Highway 3 by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. After the study is done, they’ll look at where the next set of priorities will be.
“There have been some areas that they’ve started on but we want to keep up the momentum,” she said.
One area in particular, she noted, was to improve signage along the highway for tourist attractions.
“When I wrote the policy piece it wasn’t just to put Castlegar on the map,” McLeod explained. “It will benefit all the communities from the east to west in the southern end of the province.”
Chernoff said targets appear doable and they’ll discuss this at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in September.
“I think as a united front the government has a clear idea as to what we’re trying to do,” he said.
“They’ll receive one strong message from many organizations and other political leaders,” McLeod said.
McLeod said although she brought the policy forward, she also received support from the Cranbrook, Nelson, Rossland and Trail Chambers of Commerce.