Honourable Rob Fleming
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Parliament Buildings Victoria, BC
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Dear Minister Fleming,
I am writing to you today regarding the issue of the poor conditions of vital roads in my constituency of Skeena.
The Nisga’a Lisims government is urging your government to upgrade the Cranberry Connector/Nass Forest Service Road to a numbered highway. The upgrade to the often unsafe and only seasonally-useable road will include paving the current gravel and connecting the Nass Valley eastward to Highway 37 north of Kitwanga.
Upgrading and paving these 50 kilometres of road will improve transportation routes and give safer access to transportation needs in the northern region. It will also reduce the amount of time for travel within the Nisga’a Nation, as well as all the mines that are in the area, which will help benefit the local economy.
I strongly support this request as the upgrade is essential to promote economic opportunities for several Nisga’a communities in the Nass Valley, especially the Ksi Lisims LNG. The connection to Highway 37 North also provides an option for those heading north or south and those travelling south on Highway 113 to Terrace.
Ksi Lisims LNG is scheduled to be built 15 kilometres away from the Gingolx community and will be designed to produce up to 12 million tonnes of LNG per year. The current narrow road is not wide enough to allow for larger equipment to be shipped via highway 112 from Terrace. This is a huge economic boost for the area, an opportunity that will be bolstered by essential highway upgrades.
Currently, the total direct and indirect economic impact related to the LNG facility, infrastructure and upstream activities is estimated at approximately $55 billion. This form of economic development is a major benefit for everyone in the community. Creating more jobs and stability for people to provide for their families.
Further, these upgrades will be essential in cases when there are climate disasters, where the Cranberry Connector also serves as an alternate traffic route for Terrace and Kitimat. It can provide flood security in situations when Highway 16 is closed. This would enable transport throughout the year during disruptive floods and other events.
The Gingolx Village Government has continuously tried to reach your ministry regarding a second route out of their community. Currently, they have one road in and one road out and if by some force of nature, this road access is closed or inaccessible, the members of this area are completely stuck. In the case of a local emergency such as a tsunami warning, their entire community must go to higher ground and sit up on the highway until the emergency has passed.
It is essential the government upgrade the highway as it is evident that an improved highway will not only benefit the area greatly, but it will also address major safety issues. I look forward to the government upholding its end and going through with the upgrades.
Thanking you in advance for your immediate attention to this matter.
cc: MLA Trevor Halford, BC United Shadow Minister for Transportation and Infrastructure