The Highway 16 symposium brought a meeting of the minds between local municipalities and representatives of the provincial and First Nations governments in an effort to explore options for safe and sustainable transportation.
The meeting, held on Nov. 24 in Smithers, resulted in constructive and successful discussion.
Over 90 participants addressed challenges in transportation and possible opportunities to improve services along the highway corridor that spans 800 km from Prince Rupert to Prince George.
“This transportation symposium was an important collaboration to be a part of,” said Rob MacDougall, mayor of Fort St. James.
MacDougall presented information regarding the successful Seniors Helping Seniors program currently running in Fort St. James.
“Attending this meeting of community leaders and government representatives has provided me with the opportunity to hear some of the challenges faced by residents along Highway 16, present the Seniors Helping Seniors program developed and operating in Fort St. James and to encourage government to look at ways to assist all of us finding solutions that will male towns safer,” MacDougall said.
The Seniors Helping Seniors program provides transportation to those who face mobility challenges by providing grocery delivery, transportation to medical appointments and to social and wellness events.
With 14 drivers and two vehicles, most volunteers and program coordinators are seniors. There are currently 114 registered clients and from January to July 2015, the service provided 309 rides to appointments and 219 separate trips driving over 25,000 kms.
During the symposium, participants discussed a number of community-based transportation options that could help connect communities and better serve those in need along the Highway 16 corridor.