Is it too much to ask that a pittance of the billions spent on BC roads be allocated to the Peace River region?
“The Taylor Bridge is an example of broken promises and decades of neglect dating back to the days of Gordon Campbell’s majority BC Liberal governments, right through to now NDP Premier John Horgan”
Last December the provincial government announced British Columbians would ‘benefit’ from an investment in active transportation infrastructure. And what was that ‘transportation infrastructure’? According to Minister Rob Fraser, it included multi-use pathways and rail trails, highway crossings, transit stop improvements, sidewalks installations, lighting enactments and shoulder widening for pedestrians and cyclists.
Considering the crumbling condition of the Taylor Bridge in BC’s Peace River region, which opened in 1960, BC’s Conservatives are understandably asking the question, “Since when are trails and pathways transportation infrastructure?”
Let’s put things into perspective; 61 years ago, in 1960:
- Kamloops Social Credit MLA “Flying” Phil Gaglardi was BC’s Minister of Highways
- Fred, Wilma, Betty and Barney make their debut in The Flintstones
- John F. Kennedy announced his campaign to become President of the United States
- Elvis Presley returned from Germany after serving a two-year stint in the US Army
- John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister of Canada
- Actress Joanne Woodward became the first person to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- And the Taylor Bridge in BC’s Peace River region opened.
A resident of the Peace River region himself, and a city councillor in the community of Ft. St. John, BC Conservative leader Trevor Bolin today remarked, “The Taylor Bridge is an example of broken promises and decades of neglect dating back to the days of Gordon Campbell’s majority BC Liberal governments, right through to now NDP Premier John Horgan.”
According to the Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA) inspections of the Taylor Bridge have shown:
"Steel grid deck and catwalk deterioration. Localized corrosion issues. High/increasing maintenance costs ... the Taylor Bridge was given an "urgency" rating of four out of five ... is not included in the provincial government’s 10-year capital improvement plan. We want it approved and funded, as soon as possible...”
Stated Conservative leader Trevor Bolin, “The BC government has spent billions upon billions on Highway 1 and it’s interchanges, from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley, multiple new bridges and promised replacements for the Pattullo Bridge and the Massey Tunnel.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is spending over $1 billion dollars to upgrade Highway 1 between Kamloops and the Alberta border including $125 million for the Quartz Creek Bridge.”
According to a Ministry of Highway news release on November 14th, 2019, then Highways and Transportation, Minister Claire Trevena stated, “People expect a safe and reliable highway network and those who live and work in Taylor, Fort St. John or anywhere in the north Peace demand no less.”
“If that’s the case,” remarked BC’s Conservative leader, “Why are the very roads driven on by the people I rub shoulders with every week literally crumbling under our wheels?
The Taylor Bridge is the heartbeat for the people who call the Peace River home, bringing us food and the necessities of life. Is it too much to ask that even a pittance of the billions spent on roads in our province be allocated to the Peace River region?”
Conservative BC leader Trevor Bolin concluded his comments with this question to Transportation Minister Rob Fleming, “When is the safety and well-being being of British Columbia’s northern residents going to matter?”