Letter: Rural residents shut out of major infrastructure projects

Editor,

For those of us living in rural B.C., economic development is a key issue. As your MLA, it’s something I’m always thinking about. It’s my responsibility to work with communities, stakeholders and other levels of government to help residents build a better life for themselves and their families.

For most people, that begins with a job. I know some of our local tradespeople were looking forward to working on big projects like the Pattullo Bridge replacement in Surrey. This project will provide hundreds of British Columbians with a good-paying, family-supporting job. Unfortunately for those of us in Fraser-Nicola and beyond, we are being excluded.

Under the government’s new Community Benefits Agreement for the project, all workers will have to live within a 100-kilometre radius of the bridge. They will also have to be a member of a union. Under this agreement, there is no consideration for who might be the best for the job— simply who lives close to the project.

To compound this issue, the new agreement will cost taxpayers an additional $100 million. As infrastructure project costs increase, there will be less money available for the services that British Columbians rely on.

There is more bad news for B.C. In addition to shutting out most of our skilled workers from this project, historically these agreements have led to project delays and cost overruns. Not long ago the Inland Island Highway was built under a similar agreement. It ran 38 per cent over budget and greatly under delivered on promised features.

Sadly, in the end it is all of us who pay for these additional costs and delays. British Columbians deserve a fair, open, competitive, and more inclusive process for awarding major infrastructure projects.

Jackie Tegart

MLA, Fraser-Nicola

Just Posted

Chilliwack prolific offender wanted yet again

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan

One man, two women charged with stolen pickup downtown Chilliwack

None of the three have criminal history in B.C.

Chilliwack-Hope MP says new summer jobs grant application no longer includes ‘values test’

Those with anti-abortion beliefs left out last year because of requirement to respect the Charter

Enrolment, education assistant increases make for no surprises in updated school district budget

Amended budget reflects 2018-19 changes that were made after recieving provincial funds in Dec.

Prices still rising, Chilliwack real estate back in balanced territory

Local market is steadier compared to points west with higher increase in average sale price

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Lower Mainland-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read