A letter-writing campaign coordinated by Active Communities has resulted in a much-needed project scheduled for this summer.
Over a half-dozen community groups including SD 49, Acwsalcta, the Nuxalk Nation, CCRD, Bella Coola General Hospital, Active Communities, Bella Coola Valley Tourism, local MLA Jennifer Rice and the local RCMP sent letters expressing their concern about the stretch of highway between 4Mile and the townsite.
Year-round there are dozens of walkers, bikers, parents and young children who travel this busy stretch of Highway 20 between their homes to downtown. There is little to no shoulder on both sides of the road, and vehicles are forced to navigate sharp corners and heavy traffic while passing multiple pedestrians and cyclists.
As the highway is only resurfaced approximately every 20 years or so, the community took advantage of this project to press the Ministry of Transportation to widen the shoulders as much as possible as part of the repaving process.
Minister Todd Stone confirmed the project would take place in a letter last month.
“The ministry takes its commitment to provide a safe, effective transportation network very seriously and I appreciate the opportunity to review your feedback. I hope you will be pleased to learn the ministry will be widening the paved shoulder between the reserve and Bella Coola in those areas where it is practical to do so. While the ministry is currently working to finalize our 2016 paving program, I can assure you this work will be included when the highway is resurfaced,” said Stone. “As committed in B.C. on the Move, the ministry’s Ten Year Transportation Plan, it is a priority of the ministry to widen shoulders on provincial highways in areas with a high volume of cyclists, to promote health and fitness and improve safety and comfort for all road users. I am pleased to have the opportunity to deliver on this commitment in the community of Bella Coola.”