Burns Lake council was presented with a revised bus route of the Hwy. 16 action plan last week.
The revised route has rerouted buses from the Fifth Avenue/Ninth Avenue couplet to a Third/Fifth Avenue couplet.
This change eliminates the proposed bus stop near William Konkin Elementary (WKE) on Ninth Avenue. The parent advisory council of WKE had asked B.C. Transit to remove the proposed bus stop near the school, saying it could present a threat to students.
The new route uses Centre Street as the primary access to upslope parts of the community from Hwy. 16.
In addition, the new route services Lake Babine Nation’s band office and confirms access routing to the Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre.
Furthermore, it relocates the stop near the Burns Lake Band’s office to take advantage of a safer stopping location nearby.
“I’m pleased with the changes they’ve made,” said councillor Susan Schienbein. “I think they look more realistic.”
However, Schienbein said she would still encourage B.C. Transit to build a dual shelter for Via Rail and the new bus service on Railway Avenue.
“That would be a huge asset for the community,” she said. “I know that would take more involvement, but I think we need to keep pushing on that item.”
A stop on Railway Avenue has been flagged by B.C. Transit for “monitoring and potential future discussion.”
Another item flagged by B.C. Transit for future discussion is a concern that the east-end loop road might be congested with RVs in the summer months. In addition, B.C. Transit says a stop on the westbound side to enable people off-boarding at Lakeview Mall may be needed to compliment the eastbound stop.
Information and observations informing the revised route was collected during fieldwork conducted by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in partnership with the Village of Burns Lake and B.C. Transit on Oct. 25 and 26.
The Hwy. 16 action plan is a $5-million plan that will have buses connecting the Hwy. 16 corridor between Prince George and Prince Rupert. The first buses are expected to start operating by December 2016.
It is still unclear if buses will be connecting Hwy. 16 to nearby communities such as the Southside.