One of the many questions often asked about the Bella Coola Hill is what exactly is the concern, regarding the 18.5 kilometres between the “Foot of the Hill” and “Heckman Pass?”
Many of us that have driven, as in my case 57 years over this section of the road, we think the road is so improved from our starting days, that for us there is no challenge.
I recall one of my first trips down this road in my 1953 Buick with top of the line automatic transmission.
That car from the factory had absolutely no transmission holdback, with four adults in our vehicle we came down that hill like a shooting arrow, uncomfortably fast and on brakes alone, and boy with no brake pedal left, were those brakes smoking.
Another time some almost 20 years later, now with a half ton truck with a three speed standard transmission, towing a trailer loaded with a ton of building supplies.
It was crazy getting through the twists and turns, but the slowest I could go it seemed was 30 miles an hour.
Again, the electric brakes of the trailer had packed up and had gone in some other direction.
Another time Mary and I came down the hill in fog so dense, she was hanging out one window screaming at me that I was too close, while I sweated that I might go over the edge.
And yet another time in winter, a two-foot diametre boulder came bouncing down the slope nailing my truck on the right front fender before I could get stopped.
As regular users of the road we forget those times as we dash up and down the mountain like National Geographic monkeys on telephone wires.
We forget that people with no experience in driving this road are facing the exact same challenges that we once faced, and that we have long since forgotten.
As a business person, there is a saying: “word of mouth advertising is the best advertising.”
Almost 900 signatures on a petition — so many said that the road scared the devil right out of them; some said they would never travel the road again.
I believe that this kind negative advertising has allowed the ferry service to be cancelled.
The road does not meet Safe National Highway Standards, without question, we need to fix that.