Federal funding hope for rural infrastructure

Canada's new $81-billion offers $35-billion investor's bank

Donna Barnett

Rural Economic Development Minister of State Donna Barnett says the new $81-billion new federal infrastructure funding is a “positive” step that she is hopeful will boost communities and taxpayers in rural British Columbia.

“It is my understanding the federal government has recognized rural and remote communities in this infrastructure funding. I’m not sure how much there is, but I did hear that there was some [for that purpose].”

The Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA notes her constituency might benefit from new funding, too.

“It will be very interesting when we get the details. We can certainly move forward and ensure rural B.C. gets its fair share.”

Part of the announced purpose of Canada’s new $35-billion infrastructure bank is attracting private sector capital, with incentives that may include offering low-risk loans to encourage private investors through low-interest and loan guarantees on large infrastructure projects in its trade corridors.

Noting it depends on the specific business plan, the Rural Economic Development minister says if it pans out as some have in the past, this might see some more viable private-public sector partnerships come about.

In her opinion, securing good water should be among the top priorities in the province’s infrastructure, she adds.

“Good drinking water is very important. We also need to focus on good sewage [infrastructure] – it’s so important.”

Contamination of lakes and streams can happen if aging sewage infrastructure, roads and bridges are not maintained in sound condition, she explains.

Barnett says many of the older roads and subdivisions outside of municipal boundaries are now in need of renewal or upgrading, but is the taxpayer who typically ends up paying for this.

“We’ve got a lot of infrastructure in rural B.C. in subdivisions that were built 30-40 years ago by private developers and turned over to the province. We have to start to take a good look at these.”

There is a significant difference between ongoing maintenance and capital maintenance, she adds.

“There is funding for keeping them up, but I would like to see a proper capital infrastructure program for rural and remote communities [in B.C.] – that’s just my dream.”

Barnett says bridges and roads can’t always be fixed with “Band-Aid” approaches and should be rebuilt instead with sustainable, environmentally friendly designs that will last for a many decades to come.

“It all boils down to good infrastructure.”

Just Posted

Do you agree with the NDP government’s approval of Site C Dam?

100 Mile Free Press took to the streets to ask community members what they think

Schools face off in volleyball tournament

Tourney gives students a chance to compete

Dec 13: Compact snow, slippery roads across the South Cariboo

The roads and weather for the South Cariboo

Annual bird count to be held on Dec. 30

Wildfires probably good for some birds, bad for others

Driver pulls into the wrong lane of Hwy 97

The weekly police report for the South Cariboo area

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

Clinton visits Vancouver, applauds Trudeau, celebrates Democrats’ win in Alabama

Clinton told crowd she cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

VIDEO: Salt Spring Islanders ferry piano to their floating home

Everyone enjoys a little music on the water, but not everyone has a piano on their boat

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Most Read