Full Highway 4 re-opening expected next week

Full Highway 4 re-opening expected next week

The province’s final full-day closure for Highway 4 is expected to finish at 9 p.m. Thursday evening.

Drive BC noted that the final removal of hazardous boulders is being completed in order to move the highway opening one step closer.

The highway closures have been occurring on and off for nearly the past three months, ever since the Cameron Bluffs wildfire swept through the region.

Many tourism operators in the area told CHEK News they are struggling.

Valerie MacDonald, owner of Alberni Colour Corner, said she is having to spend more money on other ways to transport her product to her business.

“It hasn’t been good, just delays, deliveries, losing customers, losing sales. As a small business it’s very difficult to make everybody happy when they know exactly what’s going on with this road closure. It’s very frustrating,” said MacDonald.

Many tourism businesses in Tofino and Ucluelet are also feeling the loss of business every time the highway shuts down.  Despite the challenges, Dan Law, mayor of Tofino, is optimistic that the highway will be on track for the opening next week.

“I expect it’s going to go well. I know the first shutdown went very well, everything was on time and they succeeded in their objectives and I expect that to happen again,” said Law.

Due to the economic loss for many small businesses on the West Coast, Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns is asking Ottawa to create  an emergency relief fund for businesses that are impacted by climate-related emergencies like wildfires.

“We know we are not the only region being impacted by wildfires this year. Also, we are watching what’s happening in the Okanagan and the folks in Yellowknife. This is going to have a huge impact on the livelihoods of people,” said Johns.

According to the province, Highway 4 should be fully re-opened to two-way traffic by the end of August.

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