PENTICTON, B.C. – Several Quesnel City Councillors had a productive meeting Tuesday with senior staff from the Ministry of Transportation. The sole topic of discussion was the North-South Interconnector for Quesnel and the best next steps to help the project move forward.
“We had a frank discussion regarding the very real needs our community has for a safer alternative for industrial and other heavy highway traffic,” said Mayor Nate Bello. “There are more factors to consider than simply cost when dealing with a project of this scope, and I feel we made that point clearly. I’m encouraged by the Ministry’s understanding of the importance of this project and I look forward to seeing it move ahead more quickly than it has to this point.”
Council is especially concerned with safety issues, air quality in the downtown bowl, continued economic development and diversification in Northern British Columbia, and finding ways to help the province meet its stated goals around energy/fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. It is felt that an Interconnector could play a significant role in all of those areas.
The City is currently working with the Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporation on an application to both Western Economic Development and the Northern Development Initiative for funding to support a business case that would evaluate the various route alternatives suggested in earlier studies and make recommendations for next steps.
Council made two requests of the Ministry:
- That the Ministry of Transportation consider the North-South Interconnector as a vital component of the Cariboo Connector and accelerate project evaluation and development to Phase 2 of Cariboo Connector planning.
- That the Ministry provide its support and a funding contribution towards the development of the business case for the North-South Interconnector.
The Ministry representatives pledged to continue working with the City towards a business case that is viable.