Highway of Tears issues under review

Terrace city officials continue to examine what progress has been made since a Prince George conference nine years ago

  • May. 26, 2015 7:00 a.m.
Debbie Moore

Debbie Moore

City officials continue to examine what progress has been made since a Prince George conference nine years ago issued a number of recommendations with the goal of making the region safer for aboriginal women.

The idea is to determine what specific recommendations the city can champion or address, says councillor Michael Prevost who successfully had a motion to conduct the review passed by fellow council members in March.

“This renewed interest followed the screening of the documentary on the missing and murdered women along Highway 16 back in March 2015,” said Prevost of LA filmmaker Matthew Smiley’s Highway of Tears documentary which was shown through the area.

Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Prince George is known as the Highway of Tears for the number of women who have been murdered or who have gone missing along the route over the past decades.

The 2006 Prince George conference, attended by relatives of the murdered and missing, social services agencies and police officers, issued a number of recommendations.

One of those recommendations, the call for improved transportation services along Hwy16 continues to be unfilled.

That call was repeated at the annual general  meeting of the North Central Local Government Association in Prince George thanks to a resolution from the District of Vanderhoof.

The City of Terrace introduced a resolution to create a poverty reduction strategy.

“The City of Quesnel submitted a resolution which was adopted requesting the establishment of a national commission to study the root causes of violence against indigenous women,” added Prevost of this month’s meeting in Prince George.

“Collectively these resolutions adopted speak to growing concerns related to poverty, violence, and transportation challenges faced in our communities,” said Prevost.

These resolutions are then submitted to the provincial and federal governments in the hopes they will shape policy.

Prevost said some of the 2006 recommendations are still relevant despite changes over the last decade like improved cell service along the highway corridor, which the provincial government says has made hitchhiking much safer.

Signs warning against hitchhiking have also been put up.

One further option is establishing a network of safehouses in the region where transient people can take refuge if they are in trouble, or possibly stay overnight, said Prevost.