Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says the city is working on two fronts to get the North-South Interconnector project back on track.
A letter from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, shared at this week’s City Council meeting, basically said that the recovery work on roads in the region that were damaged from flooding and landslides was a higher priority, and that it would not be advancing engineering work on the interconnector project at this time.
Simpson says on one front City staff is now reaching out to the newly assigned project lead for the Ministry of Transportation.
“There will be a technical meeting of the Ministry of Transportation team and our team to talk about how we need to try and advance this, and to take a look at the alternates. If we don’t do the Interconnector, are there any actual feasible alternatives to repairing or replacing bridges that don’t leave us where we are, or worse ?”
Simpson says the second part of their plan is for him to work with the Minister.
“To put the case in front of the Minister so that he can go to his colleagues and say this really needs to be treated as provincial funding, not just that localized funding within his Ministry.”
Simpson says it is definitely not just a Cariboo-Chilcotin project or a Quesnel project.
“This is a fundamental shift in the transportation of goods through the Quesnel corridor, it’s part of the Highway 97 connector, 4-laning, all of those things. So look at it through that lens of it being a special transportation project that has to be done, not just part of the budget for road maintenance in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.”
He says one thing that everyone agrees on is that the proposed route is still the right route.