Claire Trevena, minister of transportation and infrastructure was in Parksville for BC Transit’s annual conference Tuesday (June 5).
She took a few minutes to speak with The NEWS about transportation and infrastructure issues affecting Parksville Qualicum Beach.
Q: The Town of Qualicum Beach is hoping to get $1 fares throughout the summer. Have you heard anything about that?
A: Oh, wow. That would be really good; it would really encourage people to use it. I think anything that we can do to get people using transit, to get people looking at transit as the real alternative and they can leave their cars at home and that they can safely and affordably to their destination is something that we really should encourage.
Q: I know it was turned down by the RDN select committee on transit, but the town is hoping to get a subsidy going with the downtown business association. I don’t know if you’ve heard about any other communities on the Island or in the province who have done something like this?
A: I haven’t. But the mayor of Qualicum Beach was at the conference welcoming people to the conference and he mentioned his commitment to transit, and so it doesn’t surprise me that they’re looking at this. It’s very encouraging to see more and more people using transit.
Q: A lot more people in the community want to use transit, but there are not always routes to go out into places such as Coombs or Errington or further up in Deep Bay, but people want to get into town and do local shopping. Is there anything that BC Transit or the ministry could do to help get more buses in this area?
A: These are the sorts of things that the regional district works on; they are the provider — the operator — of the transit, so they’re the ones to make sure that it happens and they work closely with BC Transit to ensure that they’ve got the right buses at the right places at the right times.
Q: Along Highway 19, there is the Nanoose flats and there have been a number of accidents in Nanoose Bay in the past few months that have shut down the highway for lengthy periods of time. Is there anything the ministry could do to improve that section so traffic doesn’t back up for hours on end?
A: We’re always looking at how to make our highways as safe as possible. It is the number one priority, for me as minister, to make sure that people do travel safely across our province and around our province. We’re always looking at ways to make the highways safer and ensure that if there are problems on the highway for an accident or anything else, that people still can travel as possible. In an accident, there are times that you have to be patient and wait until the road is clear, but there is a priority, absolutely, to make our highways as safe as possible.
Q: With the ICF, there have been talks in the Town of Qualicum Beach that the CEO is possibly retiring this summer, and there have been talks that the provincial government isn’t a fan of the ICF’s business plan. I was wondering what your stance was on turning the rail into trails or using that corridor?
A: We’re continuing to work through all the possibilities for the E&N Corridor. Obviously, the ICF are the owners of the corridor. We want to ensure that we do use this corridor. There is a lot of passion about it but we are working with the ICF, talking with them and talking about the different opportunities for the corridor.