VANCOUVER — New research shows most Metro Vancouver residents want all levels of government to partner on investing in the region’s critical infrastructure as part of efforts to address the economic impact of COVID-19.
According to a survey of 1,500 Canadians, 300 from each of Metro Vancouver’s five sub-regions, from late summer, 81 per cent agreed infrastructure investment is an effective way to stimulate the economy, and 85 per cent agreed that senior governments should provide additional funding for local infrastructure projects. Projects related to drinking water, wastewater treatment and housing saw the most support.
“We heard loud and clear that the number one priority is mitigating the ongoing public health crisis,” said Sav Dhaliwal, chair of the Metro Vancouver board of directors, in a statement. “However, when people considered the types of government stimulus that would help the economy recover in the long-run, critical infrastructure investment came out on top.”
Dhaliwal noted Metro Vancouver represents half of B.C.’s population, GDP and jobs, making it the economic engine of the province. Metro Vancouver is planning for over $6 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years including upgrades and replacement of infrastructure for drinking water and wastewater treatment, as well as renewable energy projects, park land enhancements and affordable housing developments.
“Many residents are also rightly concerned about affordability and the economy,” said Linda Buchanan, vice chair of the Metro Vancouver board of directors. “The COVID-19 pandemic has added urgency to many issues that are important to residents and there is broad public support for all orders of government to work together to get the economy back on its feet. We recently launched the Regional Economic Prosperity service to help attract strategic investment to the region that would bring in new businesses and inject capital to scale up existing businesses and supply chains.”