I have been blessed to reside in this area for a while now, and I am still humbled by the beauty and wonder of this region.
The people are incredible, the nature is fantastic and the industry is unparalleled. Great strides have been made in figuratively (and soon to be literally) building bridges to connect our community. However, I still feel as though something is missing.
People often tell me that Kitimat is ‘at the end of the road’. Well, where does that leave Kitamaat? The end of the road at the end of the road? The infrastructure connecting our communities is no longer sufficient.
Kitamaat Village road is the lifeline, not only between the Haisla community and Kitimat, but also between Kitimat and the Haisla community. How is it that this lifeline is continuously cut off. In my time here in Kitimat this vital link has been severed due to snow, flood, falling trees, accidents and countless other incidents – it’s time that this is addressed.
I recently had the privilege of speaking to the B.C. government budgetary consultation committee on their tour through the region. I stressed that in order to maintain the link, to provide access to the marina and potentially the ocean access at MK Bay, this road needs to be improved.
Corners need to be widened, trees need to be cut back in certain areas, and the risk of flooding as a result of poor drainage needs to be looked at. We need the Ministry of Transportation to step up and commit to some improvements to this road.
As Kitimat/Kitamaat begins a boom cycle like none of us have ever seen, we need to continue to apply pressure on the municipal, provincial and federal governments to provide vastly increased support to this area.
When speaking to the MLAs from around the province, I asked them to imagine for a moment the Lower Mainland, currently sitting with a population of 2.5 million. Imagine that the population of that area was to explode to 5+ million in the next 12-18 months. What would the government need to do to help?
The answer is – they wouldn’t even know what is needed. That is the situation we are going to be faced with, and unfortunately, we too do not fully understand yet what is needed. We need the government to be aware, be nimble and be ready to help.
Improving the connection between our two communities in this region is a logical, and very important step. We simply must act to help strengthen not only our societal bonds but also the infrastructure connecting us.
Jonathan Borgens, Kitimat, B.C.