The end of May marks another spring sitting of the legislature being all wrapped up.
While it’s incredibly important to be working hard here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin with my ears on the ground and matters directly at hand, passing legislation and getting important projects funded is another key part of the job. I’m looking forward to a summer working at home, but would also like to thank my Victoria team for all their hard work. We got so much accomplished this session. One of the biggest projects to move forward was phase two of the Cariboo Connector. For phase one, the province committed $200 million in funding over five years. On April 13, Premier Christy Clark announced that phase two of the program would go forward with a provincial investment of another $200 million over the next five years.
In May we were able to secure $36,500 for the Cariboo Chilcotin Invasive Plant Committee, and $83,000 for the Cariboo Regional District, to help protect habitats and native species. We were also able to make most of the funds saved during the teachers’ strike and put it back into the Learning Improvement Fund. School District 27 was granted $678,942, as well as an additional $102,233 from the newly established BC Education Plan Fund which was created as part of Bill 22. Another big success this year was Community Recreation Program grants helping communities develop projects to benefit the health and activity of all users.
The CRD received $401,250 to help develop wheelchair accessible wilderness trails, and Williams Lake received $550,000 for the extension of the River Valley Trail network through the development of an underpass. We saw the steady continuation of local funding through community gaming grants, civil forfeiture grants, the Strategic Community Investment Fund, and the Climate Action Revenue Incentive program, as well as additional transportation contracts valued at over $5.7 million for two major road improvement projects in the Green Lake and Watch Lake areas, on Highway 20 and at Anahim Lake Airport. Time flies when the legislative house is sitting, and we sure got a lot of work done, but I’m very happy to be back at home and focused on what matters most to me — the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.