IN a submission to the B.C. Government’s consultation on Budget 2021, Metro Vancouver is urging the Province to consider investments in core infrastructure as an essential component of B.C.’s economic recovery strategy.
Metro Vancouver’s submission – Supporting British Columbia’s Economic Recovery Through Shared Investments in Infrastructure –presents a range of strategic co-investments in shovel-worthy and shovel-ready projects that will assist with economic recovery through creating long-term jobs, making life more affordable for people, and protecting the environment.
The projects include upgrades and replacement of infrastructure for drinking water and wastewater treatment, as well as renewable energy generation, parkland enhancements and affordable housing developments.
“As governments at all levels respond to the unprecedented fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the continuing resilience and performance of the Metro Vancouver region will be central to British Columbia’s and Canada’s recovery,” said Sav Dhaliwal, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors, on Wednesday. “Investments into critical infrastructure must be part of our collective, long-term economic recovery strategy, with a focus on creating family-supporting jobs, protecting the environment, mitigating climate change and meeting the demands of population growth.”
As part of its Capital Plan approved in 2019, Metro Vancouver anticipates over $6 billion in critical projects over the next five years to build, maintain and upgrade the infrastructure that underlies the prosperity and livability of the region.
The largest project – the federally mandated replacement of the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant which currently serves 770,500 residents – includes enhanced treatment technology, energy and resource recovery, enhanced seismic and climate resiliency, and critical restoration of wetlands and juvenile salmon habitat at the mouth of the Fraser River. It will support 36,000 jobs, grow regional GDP by 2.4 per cent, and is currently being designed in partnership with First Nations and the local community.
Metro Vancouver’s Capital Plan also envisions building 1,350 new housing units over the next 10 years to help address the affordable housing shortage. Leveraging financial support from the provincial and federal governments could double or triple that number.
“Local governments have been essential partners to the Province in promoting healthy communities and resilient regional economies,” said Dhaliwal. “By investing together – in infrastructure, housing, clean energy, climate action, biodiversity and habitat restoration – we can create new jobs and opportunities for local businesses while improving our resiliency and future prosperity.”
The Metro Vancouver region is the economic engine of the province, representing 61 per cent of British Columbia’s GDP and 1.29 million jobs, more than half of the province’s 2.4 million total.
Supporting British Columbia’s Economic Recovery Through Shared Investments in Infrastructure