Colleymount Road working group criticizes visitor centre

The Colleymount Road working group has criticized the Burns Lake Visitor Centre for their promotion of Colleymount Road.

The Colleymount Road working group has criticized the Burns Lake Visitor Centre for their promotion of Colleymount Road.

The visitor centre has been encouraging visitors to do the so-called ‘Francois Lake circle tour,’ driving along Colleymount Road.

“It is hard to believe that at the same time we are trying to get Colleymount Road fixed, the visitor centre is promoting more traffic,” said Rita Lavoie, member of the Colleymount Road working group. “Disaster is on the horizon as recent visitors will tell you when they met a logging truck and had nowhere to go but in the ditch as the road was too narrow to pass.”

Susan Schienbein, Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre Manager, said tourism is an important contributor to the economy of the Lakes District.

“The Francois Lake circle tour has been a local asset marketed for many years,” she said. “This route allows us to keep many visitors to the Lakes District extending their stay in the community for an additional day.”

Schienbein said visitor centre staff has been on the Colleymount Road this year to assess the road conditions to better advise visitors. She said all visitors are urged to use caution; advised that the road is used for industrial traffic; provided with a resource road guide pamphlet; and are encouraged to do the circle route starting on the Southside and travelling along Colleymount Road in the same direction as loaded industrial vehicles back to Burns Lake.

Greg Brown, President of the Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is also committed to lobbying for improvements to Colleymount Road. Brown said the chamber has already co-hosted a meeting with the ministry of transportation and Colleymount Road users. In addition, the chamber has held a lunch with minister Todd Stone and has written letters of support for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to assist them with their lobbying efforts for increased funding.

“This road is critical for our members in multiple sectors of the economy and we’ll continue to support our members,” said Brown.