“Kootenay youth will wait months for a booking … and drive upwards of 600km round trip to the nearest available ICBC road test,” writes Michelle Tanguay. Photo: Austin Neill on Unsplash

“Kootenay youth will wait months for a booking … and drive upwards of 600km round trip to the nearest available ICBC road test,” writes Michelle Tanguay. Photo: Austin Neill on Unsplash

Letter: Lack of ICBC road test times is unfair to new drivers

” … this has been an ongoing issue for over a year,” writes Michelle Tanguay.

I recently attempted to mobilize our area political representative to address an ICBC road tests shortage.

I reached out to Ms. Anderson’s office as she is both a B.C. interior Member of the Legislative Assembly and the B.C. Premier’s Special Advisor on Youth. (Brittny Anderson was elected MLA for Nelson-Creston in 2020).

Her office has informed me that they have responded by adding two additional tests a day in the Nelson constituency area.

Unfortunately, as youth are travelling as far as Kelowna or Fernie for the testing, the two extra tests a day just in the Nelson constituency will not be adequate to make a difference for families in this area.

I understand that Ms.Conroy has not done the same for our constituency, and frankly, I am not the least surprised as her office did not even reply and bumped me to Ms. Anderson’s. (Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West)

I’d like to thank our political representatives for informing me that my daughter has the option to wake up every night at midnight and join the rest of the region’s youth in the scramble for a better, closer booking.

Still, unfortunately, this suggested late-night activity conflicts with our attempts to support her success in her final year of public school.

It also creates sleepy, irritable kids and undermines the work of B.C. teachers’ which, I think we can agree, have had enough additional challenges this past year.

The suggestion to encourage my daughter to use the local transit in the absence of a driver’s license was also a friendly yet slightly patronizing suggestion.

I do appreciate the small transit system that runs in Rossland B.C. but it does not work for an entry-level service industry work position; doesn’t run Sundays, limited routing on Saturdays and one evening a week bus on Friday.

Kootenay youth will continue to struggle to gain fair, independent footing; they will take the significant financial hit that comes with not being able to work.

They will be unfairly impaired in their ability to save for post-secondary education, and their families will just have to watch them struggle.

Businesses obviously do not require the work resources of young workers, which oddly conflicts with what I see in real life; help wanted ads, closed business and reduced business hours due to unavailability of employees.

Kootenay youth will wait months for a booking; their families will somehow find the resources to take multiple unpaid days off work, fill up the gas tank with carbon tax-friendly fuel and drive upwards of 600km round trip to the nearest available ICBC road test.

We will be doing all of this because of a seriously flawed system not in support of it.

Having heard from people in other rural regions in B.C., I know this has been an ongoing issue for over a year.

It upsets me as a mother and as a First Nations ally.

In my work capacity, I have seen how this has disproportionately affected indigenous youths’ ability to gain employment.

Michelle Tanguay

Rossland

KootenaysLetter to the Editor