According to the July 13 Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) board meeting, there was a discussion of transit and strategic planning priorities. They discussed ways to increase safe public transit and ways to address the lack of commercial transit available.
The final report reflected the importance of transit to First Nations because of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Presently, the participating areas in the transit program [Bylaw 1790] are the Town of Smithers, the Village of Telkwa, the District of Houston, the Village of Granisle, the Village of Burns Lake, the Village of Fraser Lake, the District of Fort St. James, and the District of Vanderhoof.
The report indicated staff is proposing to increase the requisition so that the total maximum amount that can be raised from all participants combined equals $200,000 up from $90,000.
The report states funding of 66.7 per cent of operational costs are paid by the province. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure has agreed to support operational cost until March 31, 2025 but there is no agreement for cost sharing for future capital costs.
The report also indicates that this increase in taxation will support bus stops, transit shelters, and bus replacements.
This Bylaw 1790 will amend the electoral areas as per the report on transit:Burns Lake – 9 bus stop locations, 2 bus shelters
Vanderhoof – 4 bus stop locations, 1 bus shelter
Fraser Lake – 3 bus stop locations, 1 bus shelter
Houston – 10 bus stop locations, 2 bus shelters
Telkwa – 2 bus stop locations, 1 bus shelter
Smithers – 6 bus stop locations, 2 bus shelters
RDBN is responsible for reviewing, approving service and performance standards based on operating and capital budgets. B.C. Transit is responsible for setting the annual budget, leasing transit vehicles to the transit service operator, marketing and conducting service audits and recommending standards of service.
If a municipality or electoral area chooses to not participate in the service, the cost to the remaining participants will be increased.
RDBN’s cost to operate the service is increasing with inflation however, provincial financial support for staffing is no longer available.