So guess what… there’s more controversy over the proposed bus stop locations in Burns Lake.
The first controversy was about the bus shelter that was built on Hwy. 16 right next to Process 4 circle arts Gallery. The gallery owner was caught by surprise when a shelter started being built right next to his shop without any prior consultation.
In addition, the bus won’t actually be able to stop in front of the shelter, having to pick up passengers in the RV parking lot nearby.
Now the parent advisory council of William Konkin Elementary School (WKE) has written a letter to B.C. Transit saying a bus stop should not be located near the school.
The letter also says the bus route should not be crossing highly populated areas. The proposed bus route crosses portions of Centre Street, Fifth and Ninth Avenues.
I agree with the point raised by Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach during the most recent regional district meeting. He said we need to be careful with how we see this service.
Although the main intention of the Hwy. 16 action plan is to prevent people from hitchhiking, this is a service for everyone in the community. We shouldn’t simply assume that the people who will use this service are dangerous.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I’ve never heard of bus stops near schools being an issue in any part of the world (and I find it hard to believe that someone would abduct a child and hop on a bus… from what I’ve learned watching investigative reality shows, child abductors are usually smarter than that).
Not to mention, having the bus crossing highly populated areas could be of great benefit to seniors and others in our community.
However, I understand that were other issues raised in that letter such as congestion in WKE’s parking lot. That is a fair concern.
This whole controversy again just goes to show that consultation with community members has not been successful.
I know B.C. Transit has plenty of experience building transit systems across the province, but shouldn’t the community have been properly consulted when it comes to these things?
Sure, there were some consultation such as the one that took place at the fall fair, but it seems that the most relevant information wasn’t forthcoming up until now. We were all caught by surprise when that bus shelter was built on Hwy. 16, for example.
The unsuccessful consultation process was also pointed out by Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen. He said he hopes communities will be able to make changes to routes and bus stop locations once the plan is in place (since nobody seems to be happy with the current proposal and there’s not much time to change things).
Considering it’s still unclear which First Nations groups are part of the plan and how much each municipality will have to pay, there’s a lot of work to be done before the first buses start operating next month.