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Quesnel highway project gets provincial attention at forum

Letter circulated at event on Quesnel River Bridge Interconnector proposal

Quesnel’s most ambitious infrastructure wish was on the floor of the BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George.

The three-day annual festival of industry, governance, and finance attracted premier David Eby, a collection of cabinet ministers and opposition MLAs, a blanket of Indigenous chiefs and other First Nation leaders, mayors and municipal officials, and a crowd of business personalities from across the private sector. More than 1,000 delegates filled the conference centre.

“We knew this was a place to spread the word about our important Interconnector project, because it isn’t just a project for Quesnel, it is vital for the whole provincial economy,” Quesnel mayor Ron Paull told The Observer.

The Interconnector is the whole slate of renovations, replacements, rebuilds and redesigns needed at the crossing of the Quesnel River. Currently, a highway bridge and a railway overhead carry the economic and commuter load north over the river and CN Rail tracks at the bottom of Dragon Lake Hill. From there, vehicles of all sorts roll into the downtown before cutting across the city core towards Prince George.

A southbound glut of rigs and trucks flows the same way from the other direction.

The Interconnector’s design would replace the rapidly deteriorating infrastructure and also re-route the industrial congestion a different way than into the narrow streets and tight turns of Quesnel’s business district.

In a letter widely circulated by Paull and other Quesnel leaders in attendance, the case was made that all industry working in northern B.C., and all other communities connected to that industry, should add their influence to the Interconnector proposal.

“This new four-lane uninterrupted highway corridor has finished the preliminary design stage, as it awaits final government funding approval to move to the functional design,” said the letter, in part. “We invite you and your colleagues to join in our campaign of north-central B.C. communities, First Nations, regional districts, businesses, industries and other Highway 97 stakeholders to encourage the Province of British Columbia to give this project the green light for the benefit of B.C.’s natural resource industries and, indeed, British Columbia as a whole.”

The City of Prince George’s mayor, Simon Yu, publicly supported the project back in September, showing how neighbouring communities were also aware of the broader benefits of this infrastructure proposal.

All those with a stake in the northern economy were asked to relay messages of support to by email.

READ MORE: Prince George supporting Quesnel traffic plan

READ MORE: Oakes urges answers on Quesnel River Bridge

Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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