An exchange between Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena in the Legislature on Wednesday about Trans-Canada Highway four-laning projects:
T. Stone: The Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to the Alberta border moves $2 billion in trade annually…
Mr. Speaker: Members, could we please hear the question? Thank you.
T. Stone: …and 12,000 vehicles per day. It’s arguably the most important highway corridor connecting B.C. to the rest of Canada, so continued investments in safety and capacity improvements are absolutely critical.
Now, the previous B.C. Liberal government presided over $1.5 billion worth of work on Trans-Canada projects, including a new $200 million investment just east of Kamloops. In fact, the first of this project’s three phases, from Chase Creek Road to Chase West has been tender-ready for weeks and was supposed to be under construction by now.
My question to the Minister of Transportation is this. Can the minister confirm that the construction start date of this project has been delayed and will no longer take place in 2017, as originally planned? And if so, why is the minister dithering and delaying on this much-needed highway improvement project?
Hon. C. Trevena: We know what a vital link the Trans-Canada is east of Kamloops. That’s why we’re accelerating — accelerating — the work that this government promised and never delivered on.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Kamloops–South Thompson on a supplemental.
T. Stone: The fact of the matter is that this project was on track to being tendered weeks ago so that construction would begin before the ground actually was frozen this year. All the minister had to do was, well, nothing, just stay out of the way of the process and let the project proceed.
Perhaps it’s not surprising, though, that they’re actually not accelerating this project, because they have opposed every major Trans-Canada investment. Whether it was Malakwa and North Fork bridges outside of Sicamous, whether it was the Illecillewaet project near Revelstoke, whether it was the Salmon Arm west project…
Mr. Speaker: Members. May we hear the question, please.
T. Stone: …the NDP opposed. Or how about the Kicking Horse Canyon project, phase 4, which was a $450 million project opposed by the members opposite? The minister says that she wants to accelerate these projects, but folks in the Interior are seeing exactly the opposite on the ground.
My question to the minister is this. Will the minister confirm today that she’s going to stop delaying and get on with the much-needed Trans-Canada four-laning projects that are ready to go — near Golden, near Revelstoke, near Salmon Arm and near Chase?
Hon. C. Trevena: The member opposite was Transportation Minister. Under his watch, that project — Highway 1 repairs — was delayed. If the member doesn’t understand what accelerate means, I can find him a dictionary. We are accelerating work on the Trans-Canada.
Source: BC Hansard (Draft transcript).