VICTORIA, B.C. — Just days before B.C. Premier John Horgan said he would be calling a fall election, officials unleashed a torrent of announcements. Here are some highlights of projects and updates that were released.
Work starts on Cloverdale elementary school
Work has started on a new school for Cloverdale after an injection of money from the province.
The province is contributing an additional $5.8 million so construction can start on Regent Road Elementary, while the Surrey School District is providing $1.5 million, for a total budget of $33.3 million. Now that crews are onsite, the 655-seat school is anticipated to open for students in September 2022, which will allow classes to leave the dozens of portables.
B.C. completes early planning for Pitt Meadows intersection
Initial planning work has wrapped up for improvements to the Lougheed Highway/Harris Road intersection in Pitt Meadows. The project team will now take their plans to the public to ensure any changes align with the city’s long-term growth. The ministry is finalizing its engagement plan and the public will be notified when online engagement begins this fall.
Communications infrastructure funding coming to rural B.C.
Officials announced they will be investing $90 million to develop high speed internet infrastructure for rural areas, Indigenous communities and along B.C.’s highways. The funds will help pay for fibre, satellite and WiFi infrastructure. It will also fund an additional 140 kilometres of highway cellular and WiFi at rest stops, which could include inland ferry terminals and emergency satellite call boxes.
Royal BC Museum facility planned for Colwood
Royal BC Museum’s collections and archives will soon have a new home. The province announced it will build a new collections and research building in Colwood. Officials have selected a 3.2-hectare site at the Royal Bay development for the 14,000-square-metre facility. The province has committed to use mass timber construction and meet CleanBC energy efficiency standards. The proposed facility will house the Royal BC Museum’s archives, collections and research department. It will also include dedicated research labs and learning spaces. Groundbreaking is expected next winter and project completion is scheduled for summer 2024.
B.C. communities approved for emergency preparedness projects
Community Emergency Preparedness Funds (CEPF) has approved funding for various community and Indigenous government projects that help mitigate flood and fire risks. The funding includes up to $2.8 million for flood risk assessments, mapping and mitigation planning.
B.C. investing in playgrounds
Kids in B.C. will have more places to jump, climb and play thanks to $5 million to build playgrounds. This year 40 schools will get $125,000 to build accessible playground spaces. The funding is being distributed by the Playground Equipment Program.
EV charging network expanding
It’s a great time to go electric in B.C. The province announced it will expand its public electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging network with $5.4 million in funding through the new CleanBC Go Electric Public Charger program. The funds will go towards Indigenous Nations, local governments, communities and businesses that apply for assistance to open fast-charging stations. If approved, the province will pay 50 per cent of the cost of equipment and installation to a maximum of $80,000 per fast-charging station. Increased rebates of up to 90 per cent of projects costs to a maximum of $130,000 per station are also available for Indigenous-owned fast-charging stations.
Affordable housing projects approved
More affordable homes are coming to B.C. after seven projects have been tapped to go ahead. The projects will result in nearly 540 affordable units for people with low to moderate incomes. The projects will be in Kelowna, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Surrey, Langford, Gitaus and Clinton. The projects are the first of approximately 3,000 new units that are being funded through the second request for proposals for the Community Housing Fund. The RFP is open until January 2021.
B.C. funds innovative green projects
More than a dozen projects will be supported by $8 million in funding from the CleanBC Building Innovation Fund. Recipients include Winton Homes in Prince George so it can manufacture highly energy-efficient prefabricated housing components for frigid northern climates. CORE Energy Recovery Solutions was funded so it can develop high-efficiency heat and energy recovery ventilators for moderate and cold climate zones.
TFW employers must register with province
Employers hiring temporary foreign workers (TFWs) will soon be required to register with the province. There is no fee for registering and the process takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Officials explained the registration will enable the province to track who hired TFWs and determine if they are following the law.
Kelowna housing project completed
An affordable housing project has wrapped up in Kelowna, bringing 80 new affordable housing units to the community. The six-storey facility now provides one- and two-bedroom rental homes for households with annual incomes ranging between approximately $52,000 and $71,000. Residents started moving in on Sept. 1, 2020. The project was built in partnership with PC Urban Properties through BC Housing’s HousingHub program.