Column: B.C.’s Community Benefits Agreement hindering public projects

Notes from the Legislature by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo

Earlier this month, the federal government made a major funding announcement of highway improvements in British Columbia.

Here in the Shuswap, we’re grateful for the coming four-lane upgrades to the Trans-Canada Highway between Ford Road and Tappen Valley Road, as well as replacement of the highway bridge in Tappen, but the lack of participation from the BC NDP government concerns me.

Typically, these infrastructure upgrades are done in partnership between both levels of government, so the NDP’s absence at the announcement was disheartening. It was made clear for all to see that the relationship between John Horgan and Ottawa has deteriorated to an unprecedented level. Projects such as these have to be coordinated with the provincial government, but after the way Horgan and the NDP have constantly provoked the federal government, especially over the pipeline expansion, it seems Ottawa just can’t trust Horgan to work collaboratively.

On top of those tensions, Horgan’s new labour scheme, the so-called Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), may have been the final nail in the coffin for this project’s provincial funding.

An analysis by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that CBAs could add as much as $4.8 billion more to the cost of public projects. Despite their name, Community Benefits Agreements serve only to benefit a small group of Horgan’s hand-picked unions while putting pressure on private sector construction companies and contractors. It is little more than a payback with taxpayer dollars to the building trades unions who have donated millions to the NDP since 2005. Rather than getting the best deal for taxpayers, John Horgan is spending your money to pay back his friends.

Read more: $82 million in federal funding committed to Highway 1 upgrades in Tappen

Read more: Province proposes improvements for Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Read more: High gas prices: Most suppliers won’t release profit margin details for B.C. inquiry

The Highway 1 expansion at Illecillewaet, a project that does have provincial funding, is the first to use a CBA with costs already increased by $22.3 million, an overrun that could have funded 223 units of affordable housing. At the end of the day, the federal government is only contributing $15.5 million towards the Illecillewaet project, no matter how much costs balloon under the NDP. With Ottawa refusing to buy Horgan’s spin on his union pay-off, British Columbians are on the hook for the rest of what is currently an $85.2 million project.

Despite affordability concerns across the province, the NDP have introduced 19 new or increased taxes since taking power and are now making us all foot the bill for their union payback. It is no wonder why the federal government is acting alone and funding B.C. projects without mention of CBAs. Nobody believes Community Benefits Agreements actually benefit communities.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Moose wintering in Salmon Arm should be appreciated from a distance

Deep snow driving animals into more densely inhabited valley bottoms

Shuswap men targeted in police ‘high risk’ search remain in custody

Bail hearing tentatively set for Feb. 4 in Provincial Court in Salmon Arm

Parents unhappy mould issue at Sicamous school not made public sooner

School District #83 says clean up of trouble areas will address air quality concerns

Fair pay? Revelstoke council seeks wage similar to Salmon Arm counterparts

Neighbouring mountain town pursues different path to increase remuneration

Proposed trail improvements would better connect Salmon Arm schools

Project would upgrade 350 metres of trail near middle, secondary schools

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

‘I would not go’ to China says B.C. traveller concerned about coronavirus

Alice Li said she goes to China every other year but would scrap any travel plans

Royal Canadian Legion expels B.C. member for wearing unearned military commendations

‘Stolen valour is stolen service and it’s just totally wrong’

‘I was alone’: B.C. woman warns others after robber tries to force her to go to ATM

Manj Sidhu-Gill was alone in a parking lot on Jan. 15, when a man approached dressed in all black

‘Latte-sipping urbanites’ need to realize value of mining in B.C., association head says

Industry generates a total of $3.9 billion in sales of goods and service across the province

Morning Start: Chinese New Year, Year of the Metal Rat

Your morning start for Friday, Jan. 24

Trans-Canada to close at 11 a.m. for avalanche work

The highway will be closed until 2 p.m.

‘Green’ solution for excessive cannabis packaging a hit with Okanagan consumers

Tweed/Terracycle recycling program for cannabis products well-used, well-received by consumers.

Health upgrades in South Okanagan and Similkameen forecast to cost nearly $10 million

Capital projects include CT scanner, medical vacuum system, ultrasounds and more

Most Read