North Cariboo residents were lined up outside the door at the Seniors Centre to mostly support a proposed north-south interconnector for Quesnel.
854 people signed in for an open house on that project and some other potential Ministry of Transportation projects in the area.
Mayor Bob Simpson says he was pleasantly surprised by the turnout and he feels it was enough to take it to the next step…
“The next stage of this project is a planning stage that we need about 8 to 10 million dollars to release. I believe that this show of support should trigger those dollars.”
Simpson says there is small pocket of individuals in the North Quesnel area that are concerned and he says he certainly empathizes with them…
“I feel for those North Quesnel residents but i also feel for our seniors, i feel for our community that has been living with the consequences of the Highway on Carson and Front Streets as well and that’s what we’re trying to balance.”
He says most people were in support of it and understand the politicial realities we’re up against…
“Yes it would be nice to have another Quesnel crossing, another railway bridge, a route that doesn’t impact the neighbourhood, absolutely we can have another 50 year conversation about the route that we would like to have or we can get on with a route that we actually believe would be built within the next decade….that’s really the choice in front of the community.”
Simpson says the government has to replace the Quesnel River Bridge and the Railway Bridge in the next 3 to 5 years anyway at a cost of 125 million dollars so this project would just add another 150 million dollars to that, an amount he calls “nominal” when compared to most major transportation projects.
In comparison he says a bypass would have cost close to a billion dollars.
The project would mean that 18 to 20 homes would likely have to be purchased.
The route would see the bridge across the Quesnel River moved closer to Cariboo Pulp and as motorists come into North Quesnel they would swing to the right and go along the top of the hill between the train tracks and the community past the Catholic Church and come out where the Super Save gas station is on Two Mile Flat.