Yep. Gotta love that stomach flu when it decides to visit…
I suspect I will be spending the rest of the day doing laundry, but I wanted to leave you with a few things to think and talk about.
First, a press release from the government: http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2011ENER0004-000145.htm
NEW ROUND OF CREDITS KEEP OIL AND GAS BUILDING IN B.C.
VICTORIA – The Province is putting up to $120 million in royalty credits on the table to spark the next round of infrastructure development in B.C.’s petroleum and natural gas sector.
Starting today, a new instalment of the Ministry of Energy’s successful Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program will accept applications from companies who want to invest in new or upgraded roads and new pipelines that generate economic development and job creation.
Industry must fund the entire cost of the selected infrastructure projects. The companies can then recover up to 50 per cent of an approved project’s costs through credits that reduce the natural resource royalties they must remit to government.
The Sierra Yoyo Road was built as a P3, and although it is allegedly a public road on paper, in reality it is only used by gas and oil companies for the most part, since in essence it is a road to nowhere but the deepest parts of the north where large companies can then access areas for resource exploration, active wells, mines etc. (This is yet another one of those “contractual obligations” that the province does not consider or report as debt. If the province was ever made to include these amounts in the actual debt load, we would all run for the rest of the country)
The province charges user fees to companies travelling the road, and uses that money to pay back the P3 partner, Ledcor. However, those same companies then earn 50% of the road charges back as Royalty credits
Sources up north tell me there are hard feelings about some projects funded in this manner, for a couple of reasons. Again, it is virtually a private road and many think the province has no business getting involved in private business infrastructure. In other words, you want our coal, oil, trees or whatever, you build the road to get there yourself.
Secondly, projects up in that area often use Alberta based service providers, which are convenient for several reasons as my source details :
” If the project had been packaged differently, it could have all been maintained and re-built by local workers and businesses. It just seems really strange that we have to bring in gravel trucks from Alberta that have never had any PST paid on them to “compete” or replace people who paid 100% of their PST up front years ago. This road is not really a public road and there are no residents living on it. It seems like a waste of $180 Million of infrastructure spending that should have been put towards other northeast projects.”
It is interesting to note that although all related sites insist this is a public road, the SYD Executive Committee for the SYD Road User Group ( ? lol) can, has and does restrict traffic on the road for a variety of reasons, as detailed in this notice: https://www.cagc.ca/_files/safety/20050613100944.pdf Also interesting are the names on this all-powerful committee.
Next up is a very important issue to those of us south of the Fraser River and east to the valley- transportation options with transit, specifically light rail.
Rail for the Valley distributed a Fraser Valley Transit Survey to both the NDP leadership candidates and the Liberal Leadership candidates, regarding their plans for transit and Light Rail in the fast-growing Fraser Valley.
As of February 16th, none of the Liberal leadership candidates responded to this questionnaire.
Rail For the Valley founder Dr. John Buker responded to the lack of any plans presented by the Liberal candidates: “It’s disappointing. We thought the Liberal candidates would want to differentiate themselves from Gordon Campbell on this.” “With overwhelming public support, strong municipal support, an earlier City of Surrey-UMA Technical Report that backs up the positive conclusions of the September 2010 Leewood Report recommending early implementation, and now the NDP taking a generally positive position on Interurban Light Rail, the BC Liberal government, and particularly former Transportation Minister and Leadership Candidate Kevin Falcon, find themselves increasingly isolated in their negativity.”
The NDP leadership candidates all responded with the exception of Harry Lali and you can read their responses to the survey through this PDF document : Rail-For-the-Valley-Questionnaire-Results
Certainly, what makes the Liberals lack of response not so surprising, is this recently released, independent analysis of Kevin Falcon’s transit study, which is extremely damaging to the provinces case against light rail, as well as the Ministry of Transportation’s role in the creation of the study. Quotes from the Leewood analysis:
“The MoTi had formed their conclusion prior to commissioning the report, and the evidence in the report has been selectively incorporated, in order to substantiate the conclusion that they wanted to see.”
You can read this damning report here: StrategicReviewResponse .