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Smithers mayor frustrated by lack of progress on so-called Highway of Tears

Warning sign on the Highway 16. (Wikimedia)

Despite calls for a shuttle bus service along Highway 16 in northwest B.C., vulnerable residents have few options when travelling along the so-called Highway of Tears.   

In 2012, Missing Women's Inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal recommended the government "immediately" begin work on a public transportation plan.

But municipal and First Nations leaders say there has been few meetings with provincial officials since then.  

Taylor Bachrach is the mayor of Smithers, and he's been leading the push for a shuttle.

"Frankly, the progress on that specific recommendation has been very slow and it's been quite frustrating," Bachrach told CBC. "It's an issue that was highlighted so strongly in Mr. Oppal's report, it's been disappointing that it's taken this long to really bring the province to the table."

Listen to the full interview with Taylor Bachrach
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Meanwhile, B.C.'s Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton defended the government's work to improve safety in the provincial legislature.

"That's why there's increased cell phone service, that's why there's improved policing. That's why there's a hitch-hiking study underway. That's why we've given money to the Carrier Sekani to do public safety and workshops along highway 16."

She also points out there is a Greyhound bus and train service that runs along the corridor.

Bachrach, however, believes work still needs to be done.

"Essentially what she's been saying is the highway is currently safe enough and that the status quo is adequate. And I don't think that is consistent with what Mr. Oppal's report found."

"In fact, it's never been worse when it comes to public transportation."

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