By TODD STONE
MLA, Kamloops-South Thompson
I WOULD LIKE to take the opportunity to correct the misinformation and errors contained in a recent column about my role in making the Highway 16 corridor safer.
In December 2015, our former B.C. Liberal government did in fact launch a 5-point action plan for safe transportation options along Highway 16.
By 2017, this plan had grown to a $6.4 million investment, having been expanded twice by our government, to enhance the safety of this corridor.
The measures supported by that investment included inter-community transit services; webcams and transit shelters along the route; a community vehicle grant program for Indigenous and rural communities; a First Nations community driver education program delivered in partnership with Carrier Sekani Family Services; and increased collaboration and co-ordination between existing transportation service providers along the corridor.
Importantly, this Highway 16 safety plan was created and implemented based on the critical input of a 12-member advisory group — made up of First Nations, municipal leaders, the First Nations Health Authority, the Northern Health Authority and ministry representatives.
While the safety plan took longer to implement than any of us would have liked, it has had the intended effect. The highway is safer for everyone along the corridor.
Furthermore, as minister I was always in full compliance with Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation, and documents pertaining to Highway 16 were always retained in the Deputy Minister’s office and available for public access. Any suggestions or insinuations to the contrary are false.
Facts matter, and the truth is more important today than ever. Let’s all work together in a constructive way to build each other up as we walk the path of reconciliation together.
Todd Stone is the MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson.