Your Voice in Victoria

Considering the Options

Shirley Bond
Considering the Options

Well with the 2019 Budget and the Throne Speech now complete it is time to begin the estimates process. This is when MLAs get to question ministers directly about budget and policy issues of importance in their ridings.

As I have in the past I plan to participate in the process and have numerous topics I intend to bring forward. Many of them will relate directly to concerns I have heard in the Robson Valley Region.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is one of the first ministries on the list for the estimates process. I took the opportunity in the Legislature last week to raise the issue of northern transportation and in particular the future of B.C. Bus North.

I asked Minister Claire Trevena to comment specifically on her plan to deal with the rapidly approaching end to the one year contract that was put in place when Greyhound discontinued their services in our region and ultimately the province.

The minister replied to my question by indicating that she is currently looking at options and noting that she would be engaging with communities in the coming months and weeks. I took the opportunity to remind her about how important bus service is to my constituents and to urge her to find a permanent solution.

I also raised the issue of scheduling and coordination with the Northern Connections program. While I realize the complexities of a coordinated approach, we need to have a service that is practical and meets the needs of our communities.

Without a schedule that works, we know what will happen. The number of people using the service will drop and that will then become a rationale for assessing the level of service provided. There have been recent adjustments to the schedule and I am hopeful they will be an improvement. I welcome your comments on the changes as they are implemented.

It will be critical that we make sure our voices are heard as the government considers the options for bus service when the contract comes to an end. We will wait to see the plan for community engagement and then make sure that the needs of Robson Valley residents are front and center.