Alaska Highway travelers can expect improved public safety with expanded access to 911 emergency services through five new roadside emergency call boxes.
“Access to 911 services is critical to ensuring public safety on the roads, especially in rural and remote areas of the province,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizen Services. “We are pleased to be able to fund this project in partnership with the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality to install new roadside emergency call boxes along the Alaska Highway corridor. As our government continues to work to improve connectivity along our highways, solutions like this ensure people will have access to services vital to their personal safety.
Residents and travelers of northeastern British Columbia will benefit from expanded access to emergency services through the installation of call boxes at designated exits on sections of the Alaska Highway, also known as Route 97, where cellular coverage is not available. The phone booths will be installed along the highway between Prophet River and Fort Nelson, and between Fort Nelson and the Yukon border. Phone booths, an emergency telephone service, provide access to 911 service in remote areas without existing infrastructure to support wireless networks or cellular services.
“The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Emergency Call Box Project is an excellent initiative supported by Deh Tai,” said Jim Hodgson, Managing Director of Deh Tai Limited. “There are approximately 500 kilometers of the Alaska Highway where it is not possible to contact emergency services on the road. This is impacting guests of our hotel businesses, Liard Hot Springs Lodge and Fort Nelson Hotel, as well as members of our group companies working in remote locations on Highways 97 and 77. We hope no one will have to use the system, but we appreciate having these facilities in place when needed.
The province has invested up to $107,000 through the Connecting British Columbia program, administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust. The investment will contribute to the total project cost of up to $122,000. The Regional Municipality of Northern Rockies contributed up to $15,000.
The province’s investment is part of the StrongerBC initiative as part of British Columbia’s economic recovery plan to rebuild a strong economy with a focus on inclusive growth for all communities.
In March 2022, the province partnered with the federal government to provide up to $830 million to expand high-speed Internet services to underserved rural and First Nations communities.
The Government of British Columbia’s commitment to support the expansion of high-speed Internet services in all communities by 2027 aims to level the playing field for British Columbians and ensure that every community has better access jobs, education, training and health care.
Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity –
“Access to a phone in an emergency is vital, and it supports our ongoing work to develop a multi-year action plan to help end gender-based violence. We’ve heard from rural and remote frontline services how essential connectivity is, and we know that when someone is at risk of being harmed, they need to be able to access help immediately.
Gary Foster, Mayor, Northern Rockies Regional Municipality –
“We are delighted to announce the installation of five roadside emergency call boxes. This innovative and cost-effective solution will address a critical public safety issue in the region by increasing access to 911 service at strategic locations along the Alaska Highway. Going forward, we will continue to work with telecommunications service providers, Indigenous communities and other levels of government to encourage the rapid expansion of cellular and broadband infrastructure in the northern Rockies, as we know how important this is to growing our economy, supporting tourism and improving access. to health care.
Joel McKay, Managing Director, Northern Development Initiative Trust –
“The installation of five emergency call boxes in the vast area of the Regional Municipality of Northern Rockies is a game-changer for everyone who lives and travels in the area. The strategic location of these satellite phones, including near two provincial parks, will significantly increase public safety through better access to 911, saving valuable time in the event of an emergency. This project aligns well with the Connecting British Columbia program’s economic recovery intake phase by expanding connectivity along the Alaska Highway, where cellular service is currently unavailable.
Connectivity in British Columbia: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/connectivity-in-bc
Northern Development Initiative Trust: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/partner-programs/connecting-british-columbia/
StrongerBC: British Columbia Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.ca/plan
A backgrounder follows.