By David F. Rooney
If ever there was a truly non-partisan political issue here in Revelstoke it is sure to be — as NDP Transportation Critic Claire Trevena discovered on Wednesday, April 8 — the ever-simmering Trans-Canada Highway problem.
“I get a lot of complaints about the highway,” she said during a brief interview at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at the office of Edward Jones at 218 Orton Avenue.
“This is really a non-partisan issue. This is something everyone should be working on.”
The MLA for North Island came to Revelstoke from Golden with her colleague, MLA Norm Macdonald, to gauge public opinion about the state of the highway and to drive it home to Campbell River for herself.
“I found significant portions of the highway in poor condition,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to drive it in bad weather.”
That’s an opinion shared by almost everyone here.
Peter Bernacki, a member of the local BC Liberal Constituency Association, thinks more has to be done but has faith in his party’s ability and willingness to get the job done. Segments of the highway are being twinned and, as Highways Minister Todd Stone said earlier this winter measures such as smart, interactive speed zones are being undertaken to make travel safer. Bernacki also noted that drivers — especially truck drivers and travellers who are unfamiliar with mountain driving — have to play their part, too.
Trevena acknowledged that the BC Liberals are working on the highway but progress is slow, she said, in part because the highway improvements are not funded at the level many people would like to see.
“There’s nothing in next year’s budget (for new spending on Trans-Canada Highway improvements),” Trevena said.
What about federal spending?
The MLA aid she hasn’t yet spoken with MP David Wilks about spending on those portions of the TCH that are clearly the federal government’s responsibility: the stretches of highway through Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks.
The federal budget is scheduled to be announced on April 21.
Here are some other photos from the Chamber lunch: