As B.C. begins to plot a course for its economy in the wake COVID-19, the BC Construction Roundtable (BCCR) has released its vision for the opportunities that could lie ahead with infrastructure investment.
The group partnered with PwC Canada, RAM Consulting and Stratice Consulting to create a point-of-view paper on the future of B.C. infrastructure.
The paper states now is the time to be aspirational with a vision for the future of the province, identify bold investments in infrastructure that will shape how residents will live in the province and create an environment to attract a strong labour pool that promotes diversity and equity.
“We have created a brief point-of-view to, hopefully, plant the seeds to grow a bold plan for B.C. that will ultimately identify strategic investments throughout the province,” said Jesse Unke, BCCR president. “B.C. has an opportunity to use this moment in time to set the stage for future investments that will create vibrant communities and resilient businesses.”
The paper praised the province’s response to the pandemic, saying its proactive steps have eased people’s hardships and will help with the evolving economic recovery.
The authors raise three questions about planning the future of infrastructure investment in B.C.:
- How might our lives change in the future, and what investment needs to be made now to give B.C.’s economy a competitive advantage?
- How can B.C. be more resilient to future events?
- What can we do to continue our sustainability journey and remain a global leader?
The result is a three-point framework to “inspire innovative investments in infrastructure.”
The first point is to establish the vision.
“All corners of the province must participate in the benefits of the vision for B.C.’s future,” reads the paper. “The Government of Canada agenda is founded on a sustainable and accessible future based on
equality and objectives that address global climate change. These are already key principles
that B.C. values, and can form the framework to build our generational vision.”
The second point is all about impact.
The authors wrote that the impact is about improving the economy by creating new opportunities for existing businesses, attracting new industries and sectors and creating jobs.
They added that infrastructure can improve the health of communities, make the province more resilient for the future, and respect sustainability, accessibility and equity as core values of B.C.
The third point is about expanding prosperity to new areas of the province.
“We need to foster new industry in under-employed communities in order to access
labour and match capacity with need,” wrote the authors. “We need to consider diversifying the locations of economic prosperity in the province by providing better market access to communities throughout our province.”
The authors suggest by leveraging the new ways of working developed during the crisis, expanding connectivity and leveraging the resilience and availability of our green energy, new “economic centres of excellence” can be supported.
The authors added their framework would require collaborative partnering between the public sector, First Nations and the private sector to develop a new vision. It also would require all four levels of government to participate and be aligned.