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While the minister told a news conference he will await the findings of the review, he said he would be open to raising or lowering speed limits.Jason Franson/The Globe and Mail

The B.C. government has launched a review of highway speed limits between communities that will include the possibility of changing the maximum for different seasons and types of vehicles.

The options were laid out Friday as Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced the public will be invited to offer their views in November. The public review is scheduled to provide recommendations to the government next spring. While it is under way, a parallel technical review of such issues as best practices from elsewhere in the world is also proceeding.

This will be the first review of speed limits since 2003, and Mr. Stone said some highways have been improved since then, which has allowed adjustments in speed limits. He raised the possibility of increased or reduced speed limits.

But he said that safety will be factored into any changes.

"There will be no autobahn in British Columbia," he quipped, a reference to Germany's highway system, which has no speed limits. In British Columbia, speed limits vary by roadway among the inter-community highways that are under review.

Mr. Stone said he would not prejudge the outcome of the review findings for any corridor. Still, he said the Coquihalla highway is a "prime candidate" for speed-limit adjustments, as are major sections of the Trans-Canada and Cariboo Connector.

"I am not interested in making any changes that, in any way, are going to compromise the safety of motorists. This review is about ensuring that we have speed limits set correctly on our corridors," he told reporters during a news conference in Kamloops, which he represents in the Legislature.

The possibility of seasonal speed limits and maximums determined by vehicle type was raised in a backgrounder on the review provided by the ministry during the news conference. However, it did not elaborate on the concepts and the minister did not refer to the ideas.

Mr. Stone said his ministry will reach out to stakeholders such as police, the Insurance Corporation of B.C., the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the trucking industry. Spokesmen for both ICBC and E-Division of the RCMP declined to comment on the announcement, declaring they will save their views for the input process.

UBCM president Rhona Martin said the organization's membership would have to be canvassed before she could offer a position.

The B.C. New Democratic Party transportation critic said it was odd Mr. Stone was spending time on this issue when there are other pressing matters, such as the management of B.C. Ferries.

"It's a strange priority. We're not getting a big clamour on the issue of speed limits," said Claire Trevena, MLA for the North Islands. Still, she said that safety should be a priority if Mr. Stone is intent on advancing the issue.

As an aside, Mr. Stone repeated the government mantra that photo radar will not be a policy option as the government considers its options, because enforcement is not under review. "This government has no intention of bringing back photo radar in any form whatsoever," he said.