Well, Burns Lake residents will also have something intriguing to talk about now – ‘the bus stop with no stop.’
The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is currently building a bus shelter on Hwy. 16 right next to Process 4 circle arts Gallery. Buses won’t actually be able to stop there, having to pick up passengers in the RV parking lot nearby.
The owner of Process 4 circle arts Gallery is upset because the new shelter will make it harder for drivers to see his business sign, and councillors raised several questions over this new bus shelter during last week’s council meeting.
As for myself, I am extremely confused.
Although B.C. Transit held a series of consultations along the highway corridor this summer, only one consultation was open to the general public in Burns Lake. Two representatives from B.C. Transit were at the Lakes District Fall Fair on Sept. 10, 2016 gathering feedback and answering questions about the proposed plan.
But having that kind of consultation during a fall fair is not the same as having a ‘town hall’ kind of meeting. People at the fair are looking to have a good time, and not looking to hear a detailed explanation on how the Hwy. 16 action plan will work.
When asked what specific suggestions were made during that consultation, B.C. Transit simply said that the results of that consultation would be incorporated into a final plan, which was expected to be completed by the end of fall.
So why are these bus stops being built right now? Was all the feedback gathered in just a matter of days?
The online survey, which was opened for a month, also just closed on Sept. 16, 2016. So this means that the bus shelter starting being built only a few days after the consultation phase ended.
I doubt that B.C. Transit had enough time to gather all that feedback. Also, shouldn’t local business owners have been consulted over something like this?
I think this kind of decisions deserved a proper meeting in Burns Lake with residents and business owners, where B.C.
Transit would present a detailed plan on the options available for bus stops.
One of Burns Lake councillors suggested that this bus shelter should’ve been built where Via Rail trains currently stop. I agree that this would’ve been the best option (waiting for Via Rail trains, that are often late, when it’s -15 C is not a fun experience).
The Village of Burns Lake, said the ministry actually considered a partnership with Via Rail, but that this option “fell through due to timing issues.”
Of course the Hwy. 16 action plan is a positive initiative that will improve the lives of countless residents, but these are important decisions that affect local businesses and residents. And from what I can see, neither business owners nor residents had enough opportunities to have a say on this.