Letter: Rural residents shut out of major infrastructure projects


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

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

Gas price drop expected to hit Fraser Valley today

Analyst says to take advantage, warns slight increase may follow

HATS invites Hope residents to talk about addiction in the midst of opioid overdose crisis

First talk happening Thursday, Nov. 15 at Blue Moose Coffee House

Chilliwack teen to take on the world after winning Canadian junior dog-handling national championship

Chilliwack’s Kayla Penney is heading to Crufts to compete for her first international title

Country talent Petunia returns to Bozzini’s in Chilliwack Saturday

Petunia, performing Nov. 17, is referred to as ‘The Savior of Country Music’

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

Most Read