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Simpcw, North Thompson leaders to meet with Farnworth over Highway 5 safety concerns

Highway 5 has seen a dramatic rise in collisions, with the latest fatality on May 20
A car is shown hung up on a cement abutment on the west side of Highway 5 just north of the Agate Bay Road last year. (Aireal Greene/Barriere Star Journal file photo)

North Thompson Valley leaders from Simpcw First Nation, Barriere and Clearwater are expecting some answers with regards to Highway 5 safety following yet another fatal crash near Darfield on May 20.

On Thursday June 1, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, will be meeting with Simpcw First Nation chief George Lampreau, mayor Ward Stamer of Barriere and mayor Merlin Blackwell from Clearwater at the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) offices in Kamloops.

Mayor Stamer told Black Press in an interview Thursday morning his major priority when meeting with Minister Farnworth is highway safety.

“I can tell you that within a week that enforcement has visibly dropped off along Highway 5 from Kamloops through the North Thompson,” Stamer said.

Stamer believes establishing variable speed limits and having flashing lights installed immediately by the Ministry of Transportation at those critical sections of highway such as the recent fatal crash site near Darfield that left one person dead and four others injured are important priorities to discuss with Farnworth.

In recent conversations between both mayors and Simpcw First Nation the issue of increased and long-term enforcement, retention of the RCMP highway patrol and additional police officers were agreed upon as being vital to the safety of all travelling along Highway 5 in the North Thompson.

All representatives are in agreement that they will be pushing for commitment from the public safety minister and solicitor general with regards to key priorities.

“We want answers. We will be pushing … (until) critical repairs to that piece of highway can be made.”

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to note the date of the meeting will be June 1.

About the Author: Hettie Buck

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