VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – An infamous stretch of road in northern B.C. will soon have full cellular coverage.
Known as the “Highway of Tears,” the section of Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Prince George is getting full mobile connectivity along the entire route, fulfilling a critical recommendation in the Highway of Tears Symposium Report to make the highway safer for Indigenous woman and girls.
The recommendation was echoed in a report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“We must continue to do everything in our power to prevent violence against Indigenous women and girls to ensure they are safe to travel anywhere in our province, but especially between communities along Highway 16,” said Barb Ward-Burkitt, executive director, Prince George Native Friendship Centre.
As part of the federal-provincial project, Rogers, which is this station’s parent company, plans to install 12 cellular towers along Highway 16. The move will provide another 250km of coverage, closing several gaps along the corridor.
The 725-km Highway of Tears has been the location of many missing and murdered Indigenous women, dating back to 1970.
Ward-Burkitt calls this move “an important step of reconciliation and honouring for murdered and missing sisters, daughters, mothers, aunties and their families.”
Meanwhile, expanded cellular service is also coming to Highway 14 on Vancouver Island between Sooke and Port Renfrew. Work is expected to be complete by the end of October.
The project will bring cellular service to people in Port Renfrew, Shirley, Otter Point, Jordan River, as well as some Pacheedaht First Nation communities.