If the BC Liberals form government after the Oct. 24 provincial election and are able to implement their proposed COVID-19 economic recovery plan, the party is promising to spend $6-million repairing Othello Road.
The money is part of the Liberals’ Rebuild B.C. plan, which has $8 billion in infrastructure spending in it including a promise to replace the George Massey Tunnel with a new bridge as well as a promise to remove provincial sales tax (PST) entirely for a year.
Fraser-Nicola Liberal candidate Jackie Tegart announced the Othello Road funding outside the Mardina Construction Ltd. precast concrete plant in Hope Oct. 14. She said the $6-million will cover the entire road rebuild project, whereas previous efforts from the district to secure funding involved a proposed 50-40-10 split between the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
“One of the challenges has been, because the road is within the municipality, is trying to find funding for that road. So it’s been on the list for quite some time as we lobbied government. And it’s been recognized as part of the rebuild that we need to create jobs, we need to have safe communities and safe roads,” Tegart said.
Should the BC Liberals not form a government, the $6-million will not be there. If Tegart, who has served two terms as Fraser-Nicola’s representative, is re-elected without her party forming government she said she would advocate for funding for this road. “But, to date, we have not been able to convince government that it should be a priority.”
Tegart echoed Wilkinson’s statements in the previous night’s leaders’ debate, that the province is in a recovery mode likened to “after the war.” “We need to spend money in order to help people who have found themselves in very tough situations during COVID, and we will go into deficit, but it’s appropriate that we do this at this time,” she said.
Tegart said the Rebuild B.C. plan also includes a $2-million commitment towards the McAbee Fossil Beds project outside of Cache Creek. She added that the plan also includes funding for seniors housing throughout the district that could look like affordable housing, assisted living or other forms of housing. There isn’t, however, a specific amount allocated to the district for this housing. “There isn’t an actual amount allocated at this time, so the sooner we get our plans in, the higher we are on the priority,” she said.
The district’s rehabilitation plans for Othello Road were stymied earlier this year as the federal government re-prioritized spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.85-million rehabilitation project was to be funded by the feds (50 per cent), province (40 per cent) and district (10 per cent).
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