Editor’s note: This is the second of four op-eds by Fairmont Hot Springs resident Doug Clovechok, who is the BC Liberal regional director for the East and West Kootenays, and the president of the BC Liberal Columbia River Revelstoke Riding Association. For the last two instalments, readers are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or hot-button issues they would like Mr. Clovechok to address.
Building off my first instalment, Promise Made, Promise Kept, our BC Liberal Government is moving and leading — and it’s making a real difference here in the Kootenays.
Last summer, the BC Liberal government embarked on an extensive engagement process, meeting with everyday people all across the province to discuss transportation concerns and needs in our communities.
To no one’s surprise, British Columbians made it clear that road and highway safety is a priority. To this end, in March of this year, the new B.C. on the Move 10-year transportation plan was launched, outlining critical investments and upgrades throughout the province to improve the daily lives of British Columbians.
This new $2.5 billion plan will grow the economy, improve safety, upgrade aging infrastructure, and support trade for B.C.’s expanding resource sectors through Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway.
A key issue for us here in Columbia River-Revelstoke is the TransCanada Highway (TCH). In June, Transportation Minister Todd Stone confirmed in Revelstoke that improvements to Highway 1 are already occurring, with more to come. In addition to continued four-laning, government also wants to shorten the time people are stuck in their vehicles during road closures, using new traffic management protocols to open up the TCH as soon as possible to get people moving again.
This will be accomplished in many ways. New avalanche mitigation technology, currently in the planning stages, could be used day or night in an array of conditions to reduce or prevent highway closures for avalanche control. Plus, a new light-timing system that uses automatic loops installed in the pavement will control and regulate traffic-signal timing to relieve intersection congestion. These will be installed at one intersection in Revelstoke and two in Golden.
In addition, we can look forward to 20 new digital variable-speed limit signs being placed along Highway 1.The signs can be remotely adjusted in response to weather conditions, traffic congestion and incident response.
B.C.’s LNG potential is moving forward rapidly. Premier Christy Clark and Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman have led B.C. to significant progress on both the Pacific Northwest LNG (PNWLNG) and the LNG Canada export terminal projects.
With a conditional final investment decision with PNWLNG completed and joint provincial and federal environmental approval in the works, British Columbians can look forward to seeing more job creation and some of the largest private-sector investments in B.C. history.
Both projects are still in the works, but, as a province, we’re more than ready for the multi-billion dollar industry to become a key driver of jobs and economic activity in our province — jobs that will be available to our kids right here in the Kootenays.
The Legislature will reconvene on July 13th to pass the legislation needed to move on this generational opportunity.
For those of us here in the Kooetnays, responsible environmental stewardship is of paramount importance. The great news is that B.C. continues to be recognized as a global trailblazer when combatting climate change and we are proud of the fact that we were the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce a comprehensive, revenue-neutral carbon tax.
The past legislative session saw the renewal of the Clean Energy Vehicle Program and the expansion of early detection and rapid response programs to stop the spread on invasive zebra and quagga mussels.
In April, it was announced that work will soon get underway to build on B.C.’s successful Climate Action Plan. The first step in this process — Climate Action Plan 2.0 — was the launch of a new Climate Leadership Team.
Premier Clark remains unbending in her stance that our province will continue to stand up for B.C. with the five consistent conditions for heavy oil pipelines and will continue to work with the federal government to ensure the world-class spill response that British Columbians expect!
As British Columbians, there is so much we are proud of and our future looks brighter than it ever has. There is still so much work to be done and I look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions that will make our riding and province an even better place to live and raise our families.
Doug Clovechok can be contacted at email@example.com.