Kitimat Mayor awarded for her work with Yellowhead Highway Association

Joanne Monaghan received the Tête Jaune Award from the TransCanada-Yellowhead Highway Association.

Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan can put another distinction on her belt with her awarding of the Tête Jaune Award from the TransCanada-Yellowhead Highway Association.

Monaghan has been a member of the group since 1986, and served for a time as its president.

There are a few historic moments from her time as an active member of their executive, the first to come to mind was the significance of being a woman leader for the group.

“I was the first woman they ever had as president of the Yellowhead. It was an old boy’s club, and I’ve told everybody that. I don’t think they even realized that women drove cars,” she said, later emphasizing that was only the case many years ago.

Yet her mark as first woman president isn’t what she feels earned her the award, which was presented by Lynne Christiansen, a Terrace city councillor, at a recent council meeting.

What really made a difference was getting the Yellowhead highway distinguished as a TransCanada highway.

“I said lets get it named a TransCanada highway,” she said, an effort that came with some reluctance from people. “Well we tried and we worked as a team and we got it. And that’s when the Yellowhead became a TransCanada highway.”

As with everything, getting that distinction for the highway takes some effort. You have to prove it’s a safe and efficient highway and they want to know how often in a year the road gets closed.

“Of course the Yellowhead came up way above TransCanada 1,” she said.

She said they would get letters from truckers saying they prefered the Yellowhead over the main  TransCanada 1 highway.

The benefit of the change, she said, is the highway gets extra funding and new signage as well.

Monaghan realizes though that nothing happens through just one person and it took effort from more people than herself to reach her goals.

“Of course something like that you never do by yourself, you have to encourage other people to see the vision that you have and get them on board, then we all work together as a team, and we did.”

The Highway association is a four-province group.