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Bus stop move puts Prince George seniors at risk: Petition

BC Transit plans to remove a stop outside a busy Sikh temple and its members are not happy about it.

The safety of seniors is a key part of a petition to reverse the relocation of a transit stop outside a local Sikh temple that has garnered 280 signatures.

In a letter accompanying the petition, which goes to Prince George council at its Monday, May 27 meeting, The Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Society lays out the effects the planned move of the bus stop from Davis Road to Ospika Blvd. will have on people in the area.

“As you are aware, this bus stand is heavily used and subscribed to by many residents of the area, especially for seniors with mobility impairments that use canes and walkers to get along,” the letter states.

The temple is located at 4298 Davis Rd. The bus stop is located on Davis to the west of the temple, near the intersection with Foster Road.

BC Transit and the City of Prince George plan to move it to Ospika Blvd. as part of its changes to several routes. One of these will see routes 88 Westgate and 89 Hart become 80 Hart/Spruceland, 81 Spruceland/Westgate and 82 Westgate.

The petition concerns the new route 81, which will remain on Ospika and no longer provide direct service along Davis and Baker roads.

It goes on to note that the site is convenient for members of the temple, particularly seniors, and points out other concerns.

“This relocation will almost certainly result in negative environmental consequences, as it will become increasingly inconvenient for residents and will result in the increased use of individual motor vehicles on the road, the opposite goal of public transportation,” the letter states.

The Ospika location poses risks to pedestrians, the letter continues.

“The fear is that the relocation will result in an increased risk to the public, should they choose and are able to go to the new location.”

In a report, BC Transit states the changes will “improve service frequency along the new route 81 to 20 or 15 minutes through most of the peak hours (11 a.m.-4 p.m.).

Route 81 will travel via Ferry Avenue to Ospika rather than Range Road.

The report states that the changes could begin in September.

Also on Monday's council agenda:


Council will receive for information a report from Mayor Simon Yu called “Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot,” then authorize the Office of the Mayor to write to the Minister of Immigration,

Refugees and Citizenship requesting that the City of Prince George be added to potential future rounds of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program.

Launched in 2022, the program offers support to municipalities in recommending candidates for permanent residency based on the community’s needs for their particular work skills.

Eleven municipalities were part of the first round: Vernon and West Kootenay in BC, Claresholm, AB, Moose Jaw, SK, Altona/Rhineland and Brandon, MB, and in Ontario North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.

“I assess that this program would have benefited the City of Prince George had the community been chosen as a location at the start of this program,” Yu writes in the report. “Should an expansion of the pilot take place I would like to communicate our interest in being considered for participation to the minister responsible for the program.”

Prince George Playhouse

Also on Monday, council will hear a recommendation that the budget for the rigging at the Prince George Playhouse be increased from $271,500 to $356,500.

This can be accomplished through the Canada Community-Building Fund ($68,000) and the General Infrastructure Reinvestment Fund Reserve ($17,000). The project’s original funding came from the CCBF (80 per cent) and the reserve (20 per cent) and staff recommends sticking to that formula.

It was determined by inspectors in 2021 that there were safety concerns with some of the rigging components at the city-owned theatre, leading to council approving the $271,500 that year.

Increasing materials costs saw the budget coming in high in 2022.

The Playhouse was built in the 1970s and underwent a major renovation in 1996.

Emergency response

Council will receive for information a report on emergency response times from Eric Depeneau, the acting director of municipal services.

Council made a motion on March 11 directing staff to review the BC Emergency Health Services agreement for time-critical calls, comparing them to those of other municipalities, and make recommendations to council to ensure that the city is being properly compensated for the service it provides.

The report recommends that the city maintain its current service levels and makes no recommendations regarding the BCEHS agreement, citing “challenges in separating expenses by category of call out.”

Depeneau writes that council could advocate for reductions in cost by asking the province for more funding to cover the cost of responding to situations involving mental health and addictions.

Outdoor time

City staff will update council on efforts to bring in grant funding to develop outdoor family nature programs and ask that council authorize the director of civic operations to sign any agreements reached.

The parks division applied for grant funding of up to $3,700 from the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC for the Outdoor Recreation Fund of BC, pointing to the success of the Hiking and Nature Exploration Program created with the West Bowl Community Association in the spring.

“The program was so popular and successful that this grant would help offer more program opportunities in our nature parks throughout our city,” the report states.