Kitimat promoting meningitis vaccine while regional district pitches safer highways

Motions going to the UBCM conference in September will include some motions from our regional governments.

Kitimat will make a pitch to the provincial government to implement a new meningitis vaccine program in the province, while the regional district wants to hold the Ministry of Transportation to task over maintenance of our highways.

Those are among the many motions on the table for voting at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference on September 16.

The conference is the annual gathering of representatives of all B.C. towns, which together pitch issues and ideas directly to the province.

The District of Kitimat’s motion relates to earlier council meetings with Janet Munro, who represented MeningitisBC.org, a group committed to getting the province to provide a vaccine program which covers the MCV4 vaccine, which gives more comprehensive protection against meningitis strands.

Council gave their support to the cause, and brought the motion to another government conference, the North Central Local Governments Association, which passed the motion to bring the matter to the UBCM. (As well as advocating for April 24 to be World Meningitis Day, which is also going to the UBCM.)

As per the motion, it’s recognized that eight provinces and territories in Canada already have public immunization programs with the MCV4 vaccine.

If passed, the motion calls for the new vaccine program to be implemented in all secondary schools by April 24, 2014.

Meanwhile, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine is hoping the UBCM will back them on calling on the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to “revise the provincial standards for road maintenance for future road maintenance contracts, to meet public safety needs.”

Within the motion itself the regional district notes that “northern BC residents consistently declare road maintenance fails to meet travellers’ requirements and that standards have deteriorated since privatization of road maintenance,” as well as points out that road maintenance contractors consistently meet their contractual obligations.

This complements another motion from the RDKS asking that the classification of Highway 16 be reclassified from a Class B to a Class A.

Among the motion’s ‘whereas’ clauses, one points to Highway 16’s critical importance to the economy of the region, province and nation, “and requires the highest standards of maintenance.”

According to the Ministry of Transportation, highways in B.C. are classified from A to F, effectively highest priority to lowest.

Class A highways are “the main, high volume highways.”

Class B, which is what the majority of Highway 16 is (outside of through communities such as Terrace and Smithers), is defined as “routes that are main numbered highways, but not as much traffic as Class A.”

Highway 37S, from Terrace to Kitimat, is a Class A highway.

A Ministry spokesperson said that there are no current plans within the department to change the road classifications.

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