In the Shuswap, much like the rest of rural British Columbia, we rely heavily on our roads. We trust that they will allow us to take our kids to school, get us to work and home every day, and allow commercial traffic to bring in the goods that stock our grocery store shelves.
However, our roads don’t take care of themselves, and in order to continue safely meeting our needs, they need frequent repairs and updates. In the vital transportation arteries surrounding the Shuswap, there’s no question that there’s currently room for some improvements.
That’s why I was so pleased to see our provincial government, in partnership with the Government of Canada, announce a massive $162.7 million in funding for the Trans-Canada Highway Salmon Arm West project. Starting in spring 2017, this project will now go forward with improvements to Highway 1 west of downtown Salmon Arm and through the Neskonlith Indian Band and Adam’s Lake Indian Band reservations. The project will not only expand the highway to four lanes – it will also improve connections to the existing local road networks and replace the Salmon River bridge.
These improvements will ease congestion on this stretch of Highway 1 and make it safer for residents of the Shuswap and through traffic alike. It’s also just one of the many improvements we’ve been making under our B.C. on the Move plan to improve the transit infrastructure in our province. In fact, the B.C. Liberal government has invested over $18 billion since 2001 to improve our provincial highway systems – making them safer, more efficient and more reliable for B.C. families and businesses.
We are fortunate in B.C. to have the economic freedom to make such important investments. With the majority of North America facing difficult economic times, our province stands out as a true leader. We are first in economic growth in the country, having seen over $20 billion in economic growth in the last five years, and with 176,100 new jobs since 2011 and a record 2.3 million British Columbians working, we have the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, at only 5.6 per cent.
Just like maintaining our roads, however, these happy economic circumstances don’t come about by accident. When we introduced the BC Jobs Plan in 2011, we set a goal of growing the economy and creating jobs. Today, we are meeting these goals together because we have stuck to our plan and because of your hard work.
It has been my privilege as parliamentary secretary for the BC Jobs Plan to see its success; it also gives me great pleasure to see our area reaping its benefits.
I will continue to work hard to bring further investment into the Shuswap and to ensure our communities are well represented in Victoria – an honour I have enjoyed since 2013, and one I hope to earn again in May 2017.
Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my constituency office at 250-833-7414, or toll free at 877-771-7557.