Wednesday, February 18, 2015

MLA Rice takes North Coast infrastructure concerns to Legislature

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
during Question Period Feb 18
Tuesday morning's pre-budget Legislature session, provided an opportunity for North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice to outline some of her concerns on infrastructure issues in the North Coast region to the Legislature. 

The MLA rose during the morning session question period to relay a list of some of the now familiar issues from Prince Rupert, dealing with roads, waterlines and airport concerns to name a few.

Ms. Rice addressed her questions to Cabinet Minister Coralee Oakes, who has responsibility for civic issues in Premier Clark's cabinet.

If you ask the residents of Prince Rupert, they will tell you that our infrastructure has been neglected for far too long. We have 100-year-old wooden water pipes. We have an airport that doesn't have potable water. And while it's great that our airport will soon see toilets that actually flush, access to that airport is a major challenge. My question is to the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development: when are you finally going to step up and invest in the infrastructure Prince Rupert so badly needs?  

Ms. Rice went further to expand on the situation facing Prince Rupert when it comes to both bridges and road concerns, but issues related to the North Coast's transportation system, in particular the situation at the Prince Rupert airport.

Prince Rupert's infrastructure has crumbled while this government has ignored it for the past decade and a half. Our water systems are dangerously outdated, our bridges and roads need massive improvements, and though we will soon see toilets that flush at the airport, it still takes residents and business owners hours to even access that airport on our hopelessly outdated transportation system. And that's driving business away to other towns. Again, to the minister: when will her government fix the serious infrastructure deficit in Prince Rupert?

Community, Sport and Cultual Development
Minister Coralee Oakes during Question Period
For her part Minister Oakes called the MLA's attention to the Build Canada project, which has a deadline of February 18th for applications towards infrastructure projects.

As well, she also suggested the Gas Tax initiative as a potential solution, that funding program has a deadline of April.

Though it would appear that on that recommendation, Prince Rupert council is already on track with the range of grant options available.

As we outlined on the blog last week, Prince Rupert Council moved forward applications from the City's Engineering coordinator, who has five applications for funding ready to be submitted for consideration.

More on the discussion during question period can be found from Legislature Hansard records here. (10:40 marking on the page)

You can also review the exchange between the MLA and the Minister from the Provincial Legislature Video Archive, it arrives at around (23:00 on the counter  ) or 10:43 AM on the clock as part of the Question Period Video for Tuesday morning..

For more items related to Ms. Rice's work at the Legislature see our archive page here.

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