Quesnel’s efforts to have the province build a connector to the Kluskus Forest Service Road has drawn criticism from the District of Vanderhoof.
Mayor Gerry Thiessen says the proposal doesn’t make sense.
“To us, it’s important that the province works along with the resource sector in our area and finds a way of taking care of that road. If they build a connector into that road, it just doesn’t work to have a public and a forest service connection.”
Thiessen says the district has worked very closely both with the government and with resource sector partners to manage the area.
Vanderhoof has sent a letter to the Premier, asking the province not to build the connector but Thiessen says they’re not completely against altering access to the road.
“We’re open. We’ve reached out to Ulkatcho Band and asked them if we could meet with them as this is in their traditional territory. We’re looking forward to meeting with them and working on a solution.”
It’s important that the Ulkatcho First Nations have access to economic opportunities at the Blackwater mine, says Thiessen. He says the District’s opposition to the Quesnel connector is about the bigger picture.
“The province needs to look at it and say, what were the resources that planned and built this and will it be good for the province. We need to continue working with the industry that is using it now and make sure we have very close dialogue with it and make plans accordingly. If any changes are made, we certainly would need to have a very close dialogue with the provincial government and Ministry of Transportation as well as Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.”
Thiessen says the project could have negative impacts on resource development in the area as well as economic and social impacts on the District.