Accessible & Affordable Transportation in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

by Marcie DeWitt and Michelle Sandsmark

Transportation is a complex issue which impacts health and economic development for individuals as well as communities. The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) has a diverse mix of urban, rural and remote communities. As a result – they need a diverse mix of transportation solutions and a multi-stakeholder approach.

The Alberni-Clayoquot Health Network (ACHN) is taking action with a transportation planning process.

They started by looking at the issue of transportation from a health access and health impact lens which led to a wide-spread transportation consultation. The consultation completed in 2014 showed that transportation issues have become a key concern for residents in the ACRD.

The ACRD decided to take action on recommendations in the study by holding a Dialogue to Action workshop in Port Alberni in June 2015. The workshop provided the ACHN an opportunity to report out key findings and recommendations of the 2014 consultation report while engaging stakeholders in developing a strategy to move forward recommendations.

Community leaders from all sectors joined the workshop on the morning of June 11th. Eight elected officials, seven health authority representatives, and a number of participants from First Nation communities and the transportation sector in attendance.

A successful balance was struck between presentations and group exercises which assisted in harvesting additional information for the ACHN to examine the complex issues of transportation in the region.

Presentations were focused on reporting back information from the 2014 Transportation Consultation and realities of life in rural and remote communities. Janis Johnson from the First Nations Healthy Authority framed the issue of transportation and how it relates to individual and community health. Participants shared personal anecdotes and experiences of having to travel outside of the region for medical attention.

The workshop was interactive – with activities that encouraged participants to record ideas for action on sticky notes, chart paper, and cue cards. These ideas covered the tables and walls, the participants reflected upon the importance of working collaboratively to achieve a common goal.

Several insights emerged during the full-day session as facilitators shared the recommendations about the transportation study. All of the information will be posted on the ACRD website when finalized.

“The Healthy Communities facilitators provided excellent information on framing collaboration and innovation.” — Marcie DeWitt

The ACHN is a multidisciplinary network, which was formed through a partnership between Island Health and the local Regional District, this enables strong ties to local leadership in local municipalities, electoral areas and first nation communities. Find out more here: www.acrd.bc.ca/achn.

Read more about PlanH training and support on the Workshop page.

Download a workshop resource: Improving Travel Options in Small & Rural Communities.