ARCHIVED - Building for Prosperity: Public Infrastructure in British Columbia

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Minister's Message from Minister Lebel

Photo of the Honorable Denis Lebel

The Honorable Denis Lebel,
P.C., M.P.

Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Quebec

Safe, modern and efficient public infrastructure is key to Canada's economic growth and long-term prosperity. Knowing how important infrastructure is to our country as a whole, and to the quality of life of every Canadian, I am proud to be leading the development of a long-term plan for public infrastructure that extends beyond the expiry of the Building Canada Plan. A new long-term infrastructure plan will position our nation to meet the challenges and opportunities of the coming decades.

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan and our infrastructure programs, our government has maintained an open dialogue with partners and stakeholders about the best way to support national and local priorities through infrastructure investments. Moving forward we will continue to work closely on infrastructure projects that make a difference for communities large and small. From micro-hydro generation in the District of Lake Country to a bridge over the Kicking Horse Canyon, together, we are making Canada a better place in which to live, work and do business.

As the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, I am very proud of the achievements that have been made possible through partnerships with the Province of British Columbia and its municipalities. Looking ahead, these strong ties will form the foundation of our next long-term infrastructure plan and ensure Canadian communities continue to grow and prosper.

Working together, we will accomplish more and ensure Canada remains well-positioned for the future.

Minister's Message from Minister Lekstrom

Photo of the Honorable Blair Lekstrom

The Honourable Blair Lekstrom
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Province of British Columbia

The well-being of our communities depends on the strength of our public infrastructure. We use it each time we travel a road, cross a bridge or even ride a bike to work or walk to school. It is the cornerstone of our provincial economy. Thanks to our reliable network of highways, railways, seaports and airports our exports and imports reach market on time.

Planning for public infrastructure requires clear vision and a willingness by governments to work together in partnership at all levels. The quality of life that we enjoy today is a testimony to this spirit of cooperation. Working with the help of our federal and municipal counterparts we have been able to successfully meet the infrastructure needs of many communities and families throughout British Columbia.

I recognize the path to our success begins with our principle strengths – a unique geographical location, strong partnerships and a world-class transportation network. Going forward, the Province remains committed to investing in public infrastructure to build sustainable communities and to make British Columbia a better place to live, work and play.

Success Through Partnership

Working Together to Accomplish More

Since 2007, federal, provincial and municipal governments have made significant investments in public infrastructure in the province of British Columbia. More recently, Canada's Economic Action Plan accelerated existing infrastructure programs and delivered new funding to create jobs and growth.

With a focus on public transit and transportation, infrastructure commitments under the Building Canada Fund, the Green Infrastructure Fund and the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund now total over $4.5 billion[1]. The result: more than 600 projects across British Columbia, helping create the right conditions for economic growth and long-term prosperity.

  • transportation:
    286 projects worth more than $1.3 billion
  • green infrastructure:
    80 projects worth more than $603 million
  • public transit:
    19 projects worth more than $1.9 billion
  • sports and recreation:
    85 projects worth more than $196 million
  • drinking water:
    67 projects worth more than $166 million
  • culture and tourism:
    20 projects worth more than $191 million
  • other:
    51 projects worth more than $135 million

Infrastructure Funding by Category

Infrastructure Funding by Category

Partnership in Action

Working together to build infrastructure achieves local and regional priorities while supporting national objectives. The Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, the cornerstone of Canada's Economic Action Plan, has demonstrated what strong partnerships can accomplish. During the global economic downturn, all orders of government responded quickly and effectively to identify shovel-ready projects, drive employment and boost the economy through 432 infrastructure projects in British Columbia worth over $1.2 billion. These projects provide lasting benefits to communities across the province.

Canada's Gas Tax Fund at Work in British Columbia

Local Projects Long-term Results

Each year, Canada's Gas Tax Fund is delivered to municipalities across the country to support local infrastructure initiatives and encourage economic growth. Increased to $2 billion per year nationally in 2009 and made permanent in 2011, the Gas Tax Fund supports municipal infrastructure projects that create jobs and help to protect the environment - contributing to cleaner air, cleaner water and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Across British Columbia, local governments have invested over 65 percent of their Gas Tax funds in public transit and drinking water projects. These investments have improved the quality of life in communities across the province. Between 2005 and 2014, British Columbia will receive a total of $1.6 billion from the Gas Tax Fund for local infrastructure priorities.

Gas Tax Expenditures by Category
2005-06 to 2010-11

Gas Tax Expenditures by Category 2005-06 to 2010-11

Lake Country

Eldorado Reservoir waterworks facility

The District of Lake Country used Gas Tax funding to build a one-megawatt micro-hydro generation project at its Eldorado Reservoir waterworks facility. The project saw the installation of a powerhouse, turbine, generator, controls, a transformer and a three-phase
25-kilovolt line on the BC Hydro grid. This micro-hydro project provides 2,500 megawatt-hours of renewable energy per year – enough to supply 250 homes annually. By recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted, the plant will also eliminate 43,750 tonnes of CO2 over the life of the project.

Metro Vancouver

TransLink train

Canada's Gas Tax Fund has improved public transit in the Lower Mainland. At the request of Metro Vancouver and its member local governments, all Gas Tax funds in the Metro region are provided directly to TransLink. These funds have contributed to the largest expansion and renewal project in its history, including the purchase of hundreds of new fuel-efficient buses, a new SeaBus, and 48 Mark II SkyTrain vehicles. Gas Tax funding has also helped TransLink to expand the SkyTrain Maintenance Centre and install a more powerful SkyTrain propulsion system. As a result of these projects, SkyTrain's passenger capacity has increased by 30 percent and the expanded service has given riders more public transit choices.

Kicking Horse Canyon Highway Improvement Project

The Park Bridge across the Kicking Horse River is a spectacular feat of engineering nestled into the even more spectacular Rocky Mountains

Kicking Horse Canyon Highway

The Kicking Horse project is one of the Province's transportation priorities, and involves straightening and widening the Trans-Canada Highway to four lanes, replacing bridges, and implementing other design innovations to reduce hazards. The improvements will reduce sharp curves and steep grades, while increasing capacity and improving traffic operations. These upgrades will continue to improve the safety and efficiency of this critical trade corridor, which is travelled by more than 10,000 vehicles every day in the summer.

The first two phases of work on this 26-kilometre section of the Trans-Canada Highway are complete, and the third is near completion. The fourth phase is a longer-term project that involves safety improvements and a significant realignment of more than four kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway through the Kicking Horse Canyon. The Province will be pursuing future funding opportunities in anticipation of detailed design and construction of the remainder of the project.

Roadway Construction of Kicking Horse Canyon Highway Construction of Kicking Horse Canyon Highway with construction heavy equipment Construction of Kicking Horse Canyon Highway with bridge framed

Funding Core Infrastructure Priorities: Provincial-Territorial Base Funding

The Provincial-Territorial Base Fund, established in Budget 2007, was designed to flow $25 million per year for seven years to each province and territory for core infrastructure needs. In 2009, British Columbia was one of many jurisdictions that accepted the offer to accelerate its funding under the program to help address the global economic downturn. As a result, its entire $175 million federal allocation has been fully committed.

Highway infrastructure has been the focus of the program, with the majority of funding ensuring British Columbia residents benefit from the safe and efficient movement of people and goods on their roadways. Funding has also been used for flood mitigation measures that will help protect people and communities in British Columbia.

Under the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund, federal and provincial governments have committed more than $357 million to these projects in British Columbia.

Highway 97 - Four Lanes from Sintich to the Simon Fraser Bridge

Highway 97

Increased capacity, safer intersections, widened shoulders and four lanes for through traffic highlight some of the completed improvements to almost five kilometres of Highway 97, from Sintich Road to Simon Fraser Bridge.

The governments of Canada and British Columbia committed $31 million jointly toward this initiative through the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund. It is part of the Province's Cariboo Connector strategy – a plan to widen a 460-kilometre section of Highway 97, from Cache Creek to Prince George.

Evergreen Line Rapid Transit Project

Artist rendering of Evergreen Line TrainThe Evergreen Line is a new rapid transit line that will connect Coquitlam to Burnaby via Port Moody. It will seamlessly connect to the current SkyTrain network moving passengers from Coquitlam City Centre to Vancouver in 40 minutes. The Evergreen Line will also integrate with regional bus networks as well as the West Coast Express.

The Evergreen Line is a centrepiece of Metro Vancouver's regionally-developed transportation plan and a key element of the Province's Transit Plan. The efficiencies created by this new line will improve access to transit, increase transit ridership, reduce road congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Artist rendering of Evergreen Line stationThe total capital cost for the Evergreen Line is estimated to be $1.4 billion. The Province is contributing $583 million and will oversee construction. The Government of Canada is contributing up to $417 million, and TransLink, which will operate the Evergreen line upon completion, is contributing $400 million.

This summer, the Province will select a primary contractor to design and build the Evergreen Line. The Evergreen Line is expected to be in service in summer 2016, and the project will create 8,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.[2]

Funding for Local Priorities: Building Canada Fund – Communities Component

The Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund recognizes the unique infrastructure needs of smaller communities (less than 100,000 people), focusing on projects that meet economic, environmental and quality of life objectives. Under the Communities Component and Top-up, more than $339 million has been invested in 150 community projects around the province. Water projects represent approximately 50 percent of the approved projects, with wastewater accounting for almost 30 percent.

Under the Communities Component, more than $600 million has been invested in 132 community projects around the province.

Kinsol Trestle Rehabilitation Project

Kinsol Trestle bridge

The historic Kinsol Trestle, Canada's tallest timber trestle, reopened in 2011 to provide a spectacular recreational route for families, residents and visitors to the Cowichan Valley. High above the Koksilah River, the restored trestle includes a 614-foot walkway for hikers, cyclists and horseback riders. The trestle completes an important section of the Trans-Canada Trail and connects the Village of Shawnigan Lake to the District of North Cowichan. The restoration work was carefully carried out to ensure that the trestle's historic characteristics were preserved.

Village of McBride's Eco-sensitive Solution to Wastewater

McBride trail

Sewage treatment and parks may not seem an obvious match, but the Village of McBride has found an award-winning way to combine the two. The Village, east of Prince George, opened the Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Park in August 2011. The park features accessible, multi-use trails and wildlife viewing. Additionally, by using a number of screens, channels and holding ponds, wastewater from the Village's sewage system is converted into clean water supporting a new wetland area in the park. McBride's approach to wastewater treatment is unique in Canada and has received the Best Community Project Award from the Economic Development Association of British Columbia.

Calvin Kruk Centre for the Arts

Artist drawing of Calvin Kruk Centre for the ArtsThe new Calvin Kruk Centre for the Arts is a legacy that is more than the former mayor's namesake. It is a tribute to his commitment to the arts and the environment. The centre will be located in the historic post office in downtown Dawson Creek. The 42,000-square-foot heritage building will be converted into a LEED Gold certified community and cultural centre, which will feature a multi-purpose theatre space, meeting rooms, dance and textile studios and administrative offices.

Canada's Pacific Gateway

British Columbia's long-term vision of being the preferred gateway for Asia-Pacific trade, with the most competitive supply chain on the west coast of the Americas, was made possible through the collaboration of all levels of government and industry partners, including funding under the Government of Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.

Today, Canada's Pacific Gateway is a world-class transportation network. Its integrated, seamless supply chain includes airports, seaports, railways, roadways and border crossings – connecting Canada and the North American market with Asia and the world. Major public-private investments will increase capacity, eliminate congestion, and streamline operations. Projects to expand and enhance port, rail, road and airport infrastructure currently planned or underway total more than $22 billion.

Cargo ship docked in Port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia As one of North America's fastest-growing ports, the Port of Prince Rupert recorded an 18 percent increase in cargo volume in 2011 over 2010. Situated on the shortest trade route between Asia and North America, the port has acquired a reputation for safe, efficient, and environmentally sustainable operations while driving significant economic activity throughout northern British Columbia.

Roberts Bank Rial Corridor in British Columbia The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor is an important 70-kilometre stretch connecting Canada's largest container facility and a major coal terminal at Roberts Bank (south of Vancouver) with the North American rail network. It carries increasing volumes of international freight through communities in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

South Fraser Perimeter Road in British Columbia The South Fraser Perimeter Road is one of the province's most important infrastructure projects. This new four-lane expressway will connect Deltaport and the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to other port facilities along the Fraser River, rail intermodal yards and the major crossings of the Fraser River including the Massey Tunnel and the Alex Fraser, Pattullo, Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. The project will benefit commuters, the trucking industry and tourists.

Canada's Pacific Gateway is geographically positioned to make it the preferred "gateway" to markets in the growing Asia-Pacific region.

British Columbia's ports in Vancouver and in Prince Rupert are up to 58 hours closer to Asia than the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

We're building on our natural competitive advantage to create jobs for families and workers all across British Columbia.

Making Strategic Investment into Public Infrastructure will be the Key to our Prosperity in the Future

A Competitive Advantage

Enabling job growth and opening new markets will grow British Columbia's economy and create opportunities - but this means little if products can't get to market. The BC Jobs Plan ensures that ports, rail, highway and air transportation have the capacity to ship the volume of goods required, and that they continue to offer a significant competitive advantage.

Transportation Investments

British Columbia is investing in transportation infrastructure and it is paying off. British Columbia will continue working with the Government of Canada, private industry and other stakeholders to make investments to improve and expand world-class transportation infrastructure.

A New Strategy

The Province's new Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy 2012-2020, will support the key elements of Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan to expand markets for British Columbia products and strengthen infrastructure to get goods to market. British Columbia has great business opportunities through the expanding Asian demand for coal, forest products, potash, grain, minerals, container traffic and the growth in air travel related to agri-foods, tourism and international education.

The strategy targets $25 billion in new public- and private-sector investment needed to meet this demand – in addition to $22 billion already committed since 2005. This new investment will create at least 17,000 additional jobs by 2020.[3]

Benefits of Investments

Looking ahead, these significant investments will provide tangible results for British Columbia. The strategy will:

  • Increase major road and rail capacity, rural resource transportation capacity, bulk and container terminal capacity at British Columbia, ports, and air passenger and cargo capacity to meet projected growth through 2020.
  • Ensure an attractive climate for investment by supporting a reliable labour supply and marketing British Columbia's advantages to the world.
  • Enhance collaboration with partners and stakeholders to integrate industrial land-use planning, and engage with communities and First Nations.

Liquefied Natural Gas

Historically, the majority of British Columbia's natural gas was shipped to our largest trading partner, the United States, while the remainder stayed within the province for our consumption.

However, by developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, British Columbia can now take advantage of the opportunity to diversify its exports and expand into other foreign markets, including Asia.

Global trade in LNG doubled between 2000 and 2010. It is expected to increase by another 50 percent by 2020. Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan commits the Government of British Columbia to work with LNG export proponents to bring at least one LNG terminal online as well as one new pipeline which will supply the natural gas to the new facility by 2015 and have three in operation by 2020.

Moving Forward Together

Continuing Partnerships

Achieving our goals as a nation means that all orders of government and other partners must work together. We all know that public infrastructure plays a key role in our lives and in our economic well-being. Indeed, Canada's long-term prosperity relies on the strength of our communities and the basic services that support them.

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, and infrastructure initiatives such as the Building Canada Fund, the Gas Tax Fund, and the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, great things have been built in British Columbia. People across the province have safer roads, cleaner water and improved sport, recreation and cultural infrastructure. The tangible benefits of our infrastructure investments increase every day as more and more projects are completed.

The Government of Canada is committed to continuing a partnership approach to national, regional and local infrastructure priorities. Strong partnerships mean that every dollar invested in public infrastructure will meet today's needs and sustain future economic growth and development.

A New Long-Term Plan

On November 30, 2011, the Government of Canada launched a process to engage partners from across the country on a new long-term public infrastructure plan. This means working with provinces, territories, municipalities, key stakeholders, as well as with technical experts, to build knowledge around five broad themes:

  • infrastructure and the economy;
  • infrastructure and the environment;
  • infrastructure and stronger communities;
  • financing infrastructure; and
  • asset planning and sustainability.

In the lead up to the new long-term infrastructure plan, we will undertake a constructive dialogue that focuses on the broad principles, priorities and future directions for public infrastructure in Canada. Working together will ensure that Canada has a strong public infrastructure foundation for sustained growth and economic prosperity – now and for years to come.

Government of British Columbia logo

[1]Based on total eligible costs

[2]Job numbers provided by the Government of British Columbia.

[3]Job numbers provided by the Government of British Columbia.

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