EDITORIAL: Better highway standards a good thing

Editor of the Northern Sentinel weighs in on efforts to get better highway maintenance in the northwest.

When it comes to winter travelling, I usually plan very carefully when I need to go to Terrace or beyond.

In my final winter being editor at the Interior News in Smithers I had come to Kitimat with my wife to spend the Christmas holiday with my in-laws.

I learned quite quickly what winter driving can be like.

Actually on our first attempt we turned around, basically said ‘nope’ and tried again the next day, which turned out to be better, but only marginally.

It was a long, long drive through at times, for our Toyota Matrix, very deep snow.

It didn’t help matters that because it was the holidays our print deadlines were different so I was travelling back on a production day. My publisher back in Smithers was certainly heading to some physical or mental breakdown with an absent editor. (And reporters, since we sent them off to enjoy some deserved time off.)

So in short my point is driving, even on our Class A highway between Terrace and Kitimat, can be tricky.

So it’s nice that our regional district will be trying to push forward a movement to get the government to up the standards for snow clearing at the UBCM.

Not just for me I mean, although my 1.5 year old child would probably appreciate the added safety.

But for the countless labourers and contractors who are making the trip already.

I didn’t realize before but I’ve heard people are living as far away as Prince Rupert to work on Kitimat projects.

Even now you’re sometimes battling aggressive driving to and from Terrace, but imagine that issue compounded in the winter.

In short, it’s hard to have a good feeling about what this winter will bring. (And I heard just today that some people are forecasting a traditional Kitimat winter, as in 1970s style snowfall.)

We can only hope the government will heed the northwest’s calls for more stringent standards on our roads to prevent what I’m sad to think will most likely be plenty of injury and damage.

As mine and the Sentinel’s former editor sometimes says, we shall see, we shall see.

Hey, while we’re this subject actually, I’ll share another thought that was shared to me not long ago.

That thought is, I wonder if there’s a chance we can get a commuter train going between  Terrace and Kitimat?

A train between the two communities has never existed as long as I’ve lived in town, but as was pointed out to me with no Eurocan surely the line must be more free than it has been.

Could it work? Just one car even? That’d be a nice alternative to those tricky highways.

Cameron Orr