A map of the project area, provided by the provincial government.

New road will provide emergency exit route for Kluskus Nation settlement

The provincial government has approved building a new road that will cross the Blackwater River

The provincial government announced Monday (April 1) that it has approved a new road that will provide an emergency exit route to Highway 16 for residents of the Lhoosk’uz Dene (Kluskus) Nation settlement and people in the surrounding areas.

The road will begin at approximately 53 kilometres along the Coglistiko (4000) Forest Service Road in the Quesnel Natural Resource District, cross the Blackwater (West Road) River and connect to the end of the Blue 4000 Forest Service Road in the Stuart Nechako Natural Resource District.

“Building this road will provide safety to citizens in the area, as well as socioeconomic benefits to residents of the Kluskus Nation settlement,” Doug Donaldson, minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said in a press release. “The decision to do so aligns with recommendations from the Abbott/Chapman report and supports the Province’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The road will allow for residents living west of the Blackwater River to evacuate to Quesnel or Vanderhoof in the event of an emergency, according to the release. This road will also provide access to Vanderhoof, which will improve options for health care and services, and will enable Kluskus Nation to populate and service currently isolated reserves.

“The bridge crossing and access road to the north side of the Blackwater River provides an emergency escape route for community members when the 4000 Road is blocked by forest fires,” Lhoosk’uz Dene Chief Liliane Squinas said in the release. “It will also connect our community members living in the isolated Kluskus reserves on the north side.”

The project consists of eight kilometres of new construction, including a 40-metre bridge across the Blackwater River and seven kilometres of upgrades to existing roads. Also included are road upgrades and replacement of inadequate, failing or unsafe structures on the current access road (4000 Road). The road will be restricted to non-industrial traffic

The estimated total cost of the project is $3.6 million, and construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed in fall 2020.

The decision to proceed with construction was made after extensive consultation with First Nations, stakeholders and the public, as well as completion of environmental, heritage and recreation reviews, according to the provincial government.

The Kluskus Nation settlement (Kluskus IR1), which is approximately 135 kilometres west of Quesnel and 110 kilometres south of Vanderhoof, currently has only one exit route and has been evacuated five times in the last 13 years due to fires, according to the press release. Of the nation’s 17 reserve lands, 10 have been impacted by fire, and in 2017, the Plateau Fire burned to within 500 metres of the settlement.

Flooding compromised access in 2018 and again in 2019.

Just Posted

Wind causes power outage across Vanderhoof and the north

Saying its windy today would be an understatement. There are power outages… Continue reading

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results from our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Feds finally decriminalizing drugs possible – but it’s up to Jagmeet Singh, expert says

National pharmacare was one of Singh’s most highly-touted platform policies

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

Most Read