Mayor Deb Kozak

COLUMN: Transportation task force sought

"The complex web of transit options from land, air and water deserve a closer look and a broader strategy."

Spring has arrived early and with it I’ve noticed more people on the move. Cyclists, walkers, skateboarders, cars and busses make for a busy city. Transportation has been on my mind a lot lately. The topic has come up at the city council, regional district and the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Board tables.

I was pleased to learn Barry Nelson was named this year’s Citizen of the Year. Barry has been one of the strongest leaders to appear and not only advocate for, but be part of the change to bring better bussing services to Nelson and the broader region.

One of those changes was the purchase of smaller busses to serve in off peak hours. Members of council travelled in one this week to tour city services. We all can travel free on Earth Day on April 22. If you’re looking for more information, riders can get Twitter and e-mail alerts by visiting twitter.com/NelsonTransit and bctransit.com/west-kootenay/schedules/alerts.

Two of your councillors are working hard on a variety of transportation issues with our regional district leaders. Val Warmington, lead and Michael Dailly, alternate, are participating on the West Kootenay Transit Committee.

The news from the province that there will be no new funding for BC Transit makes it even more critical that all players come to the table to create and sustain good transit services for people. Interior Health is also a part of this conversation and will participate in creating solutions for people who need reliable transport to medical services.

Transportation in rural BC is much different than in large urban centers. It’s a message that has been taken forward to the province and will be a conversation at the local government regional conference later in April.

There is a possibility to initiate a Basin-wide look at how we move. I’ve suggested that we consider striking a task force to look at transportation in the broader spectrum. The complex web of transit options from land, air and water deserve a closer look and a broader strategy. Our residents, business leaders and service providers could be part of building a future plan that strengthens connectivity and makes a difference in our environment.

I reflected on Tom Rand’s remarks (tomrand.net) about embracing the new economy and investing in clean energy systems. We could be on the cutting edge of making that wheel turn and those changes begin with how we invest in modes of transportation.

Earlier this week the province announced it is continuing financial incentives for individuals and companies to purchase clean energy vehicles (cleanenergycanada.org). These incentives play a part in changing patterns and ways of thinking and contribute to larger plans for change. I know that we have a long way to go, but there are people who are working hard to understand and come to solutions.

With spring there comes an urgency to move, to do things that are new. It’s good that some of this energy is turning toward how we physically move in this amazing part of the world that we call home.

 

Nelson mayor Deb Kozak shares this space weekly with her council colleagues.

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