Integrated Regional Infrastructure

Passenger Transportation in the OBAC Region

A passenger transportation survey was collaboratively completed by the Ministry, OBAC and Carrier Sekani Family Services staff.

“The transportation challenges for communities and First Nations along Highway 16 West present a complex problem and the solutions will almost certainly require many organizations working together to support new approaches. 

Carrier Sekani Family Services and the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition have prepared a survey to help better understand the current transportation services and whether there is sufficient demand to make additional services viable.”

The survey was released on July 8th on the OBAC website, sent electronically to member communities and social organizations and hardcopies mailed to a First Nations’ contact list provided by Carrier Sekani Family Services. Regular updates were provided to the Ministry. The survey closed on Sept 8th.

Passenger Transportation Along Highway 16 West Summary Results - Click Here


This strategy provides broad recommendations and proposed actions to deal with infrastructure needs for connections to and between the OBAC communities. It has been developed at a regional level and provides recommendations on:

  • Transportation infrastructure and services;
  • Communications infrastructure and services; and
  • Energy supply and distribution.

The assets of the region include its productive forests, rich mineral potential, abundant and economical hydroelectric power, impressive natural landscapes, and its human resources. To take full advantage of these assets and grow the region’s economy to its full potential, strategic investments are needed in the both the region’s existing infrastructure and in the development of new infrastructure. These investments are not stand-alone and must be linked to the needs and opportunities in the various industrial and commercial sectors.

Public infrastructure investments1 can act as a catalyst for development, growth, and wealth generation. Infrastructure investment in the 1950s and 1960s was one of the key requirements for the growth and diversification of the forest sector which has been the major wealth generator in the region for the past 50 years.

The six objectives of the strategy are to build and maintain the infrastructure that:

Objective 1.

Enable the efficient movement of people, goods, and services across the region and to the world beyond;

Objective 2.

Meet urban, rural, and First Nations needs;

Objective 3.

Position existing small, medium, and large scale businesses to be regionally, provincially, and globally competitive;

Objective 4.

Attract new business developments that can take advantage of the region’s considerable assets;

Objective 5.

Enable businesses to efficiently and cost-effectively locate more of their production chains within the region; and

Objective 6.

Make effective use of the region’s considerable alternative energy assets, facilitating regional growth without large increases in greenhouse gas emissions.


An integrated and strategic approach to the maintenance and future development of the region’s infrastructure is now needed. As well as an overarching need for a visionary approach, specific actions have been proposed that include:

  • Improvements to Highways 97 and 16;
  • Ensuring communities have access to an effective, efficient, consistent, cost-effective and reliable rail transportation service;
  • Maintaining key resource roads;
  • Developing a small airport strategy and improved funding for airports;
  • Continue to move foreward on the Northwest Transmission Line and consider extending the rail line in the Highway 37 corridor;
  • Examining the feasibility and benefits of a rail link to Yukon and Alaska;
  • Developing safe and efficient road and rail connections to Prince George as an intermodal hub within the OBAC region with access to global supply chains through Prince Rupert. This will in turn allow communities to develop competitive manufacturing operations linked directly to Asian markets;
  • Expanding the use of the facilities at the Port of Prince Rupert which allow truck shipped containers to move through the port;
  • Maintaining (and expanding as needed) Ridley Terminal in Prince Rupert which is critical for the shipment of coal from Northern BC;
  • Ensuring alternative energy producers in the region can connect to the electrical grid in an efficient manner;
  • Extending broad band internet access; and
  • Establishing an integrated planning process and funding approaches which will facilitate the further development and efficient use of the Region’s transportation infrastructure.

Three recommendations and 33 specific actions are proposed in this strategy. OBAC is confident that if these recommendations and the associated actions are implemented, the six objectives and the regional vision will be achieved.

The three recommendations are:

Recommendation 1.

Ensure that the region’s new and existing transportation infrastructure provides for safe, cost effective, and expeditious movement of people, goods, and services.

Recommendation 2.

Establish energy and communications infrastructure elements that will attract new businesses to the region and allow existing businesses to expand.

Recommendation 3.

Establish collaborative planning approaches and innovative funding mechanisms to expedite the delivery of integrated infrastructure development solutions.

  1. Government of Canada. 2007. Infrastructure and Productivity: A Literature Review. Ottawa: Infrastructure Canada.