Premier David Eby gave a speech at the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Summit in Nanaimo earlier this morning where he highlighted concerns in order to help the island economy grow.
The summit was held at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre for business leaders, decision-makers as well as community and island stakeholders the chance to connect on a broad range of issues surrounding the economic state of Vancouver Island.
Eby says the government knows there are issues they need to address, especially around transportation.
According to the Island Coastal Inter-Community Transportation Study, a survey of 1,452 respondents illustrated the concerns of residents across the region, transit in rural communities doesn’t match the needs of all island residents and provides a huge financial burden for those who rely on it.
“Participants shared that, currently, the public transit is built around a ‘9-5 theme,’” the report says. “For those who start shifts early or end late, public transit is often not a viable means of transportation for them because the schedule is not convenient.”
Respondents indicated they use public transportation mainly for shopping and healthcare, but with the cost to travel approximately $200 residents are feeling the pinch and are asking the premier to do more for island residents, especially in the north.
Eby says transportation, especially in rural communities, has become a major concern since Greyhound pulled out of BC but they are working on strengthening rural transit corridors.
“Rural corridors, like the one from Port McNeil to Campbell River, need desperate attention for transportation,” Eby says. “Whether it is for economic reasons or for healthcare, or interpersonal connections the ability to get around areas like the North Island is critical.
According to BC Transit, in September the government of BC invested over $5,000,000 into public transit to make everyday commuting more affordable and cut down on the cost of living.
Eby also noted other areas of concern are health care, homelessness, public safety as well as mental health and addictions.