Breathing new life into the long-awaited Barkerville Connector, Heritage Trust members are more confident than ever.
“This thing has been studied to death over the years,” Cariboo Regional District director area C and Barkerville Heritage Trust member John Massier said.
“There’s been consultations, reports, studies, analysis. But this route already exists, so it makes sense.”
“The Trust believes that realizing the proposed Purden Lake connector represents an important step forward in improving the safe access to and from the site as well as providing an attractive summertime driving alternative for travellers, Trust chair Sue Morhun added.
“Circle routes are very popular. We are pleased to learn of the CRD’s support for our undertaking. As the Board is reminded constantly, partnerships have been central to our success to date and we are very appreciative of the support the CRD has extended to us on a number of occasions, not just this one.”
The Trust deemed the Bowron Lake Purden Route the preferred choice in 2007 after a extensive analysis report examined options.
The Trust then undertook some preliminary discussions with government and community representatives to gauge initial reaction to the proposal.
It was strongly suggested to BHT representatives that ultimately for the province to support the proposal it would need assurance that communities and key interest groups in the region around Barkerville (First Nations, tourism sector, economic development and others) would also support the proposal.
These consultations took place over a number of months and not only looked to inform the groups, but receive feedback and input as well.
In addition to the key consultation and presentation sessions, a number of informal meetings were held with representatives from groups such as the BC Museums Association, Initiatives Prince George, Lheidli T’enneh Nation and others.
The Trust felt these meetings proved very helpful in gathering feedback and ideas about how the board might wish to move forward with the proposal and in developing strategic regional relationships that could assist Barkerville directly and ultimately lead to development of a heritage and cultural tourism marketing plan to benefit the entire region.
“This route has been really important to the community and the area for a long time,” Massier said, pointing to diversification, tourism and safety issues.
After the CRD endorsed their support of the route in the form of a letter to senior levels of government, the Trust is hoping other local government officials will sign on.
“We need them on board,” Massier said.
“It carries weight when we meet with the ministry [of transportation]. The route is pretty doable in my mind. It’s a benefit to everyone.”
The Trust meets with Quesnel City Council, March 26.