An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
FEAR-MONGERING is a common occurrence in election campaigns and this one is no different. The BC Liberals fear-monger about tax raises if the NDP wins; the NDP fear-mongers about exactly the same thing if the Liberals win.
It happens at the local level, too, the latest shameless example being comments by Steven Puhallo, executive director of the North Shore Business Improvement Association.
Puhallo has headed up a very worthwhile project to improve the Tranquille Road corridor from the airport into the City. It’s been under study for years, with cost being a major concern.
It’s now at the point where it should move forward — it’s a modest version compared to the plan that was originally proposed but it would certainly help first impressions when people arrive in Kamloops by air and drive towards town.
But Puhallo, in a CFJC Today story this week, has raised the specter of the project once again being put on the back burner should the NDP defeat the Liberals. The reason, says Puhallo, is that Kinder Morgan has pledged financial support for the project, since the pipeline goes through the area near the airport before it crosses the Thompson River.
Puhallo’s reasoning is that NDP leader John Horgan opposes Kinder Morgan’s twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline. If the NDP wins, and succeeds in stopping the expansion, Kinder Morgan’s donation money wouldn’t be available, he reasons.
Puhallo, as it happens, is a loyal BC Liberal, having worked within the party for many years, and having contended for the Kamloops-North Thompson nomination won by Peter Milobar.
He, and the NSBIA, well know that the chances of Kinder Morgan’s project being stopped at this point are about zero. Zip. It’s received its federal approvals and is preparing to begin construction soon.
It’s also worth remembering that the corridor enhancement is a City of Kamloops project, not anyone else’s. The City invited Kinder Morgan into the project because of timing of construction that will be necessary as the pipe is twinned. Outside funding is always a bonus but it’s just that — a bonus.
Sprucing up Tranquille Road is something the City needs to invest in, with or without third-party funding. It will go ahead, with or without it, but suggesting pipeline money might evaporate is a stretch anyway.
So let’s be clear on what this talk of lost funding is really about — just another election-campaign scare tactic.