Tuesday, March 28, 2017

More Good News for Cariboo-North

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

1) Education

Students in the Quesnel School District will benefit from $1.3 million in provincial funding for school upgrade projects, classroom supplies and a new school bus, MLA Coralee Oakes announced today on behalf of Education Minister Mike Bernier.

The district will extend the life of Correlieu Secondary and Parkland Elementary schools with $987,000 in School Enhancement Program funding to upgrade rooftop air-handling units, direct-digital control systems and boilers. The district will also use the funding to improve student safety by upgrading the schools’ fire alarm systems. Every school district will receive a portion of this year’s $53-million investment, supporting 223 projects.

Under the new Student Learning Grant, the district will receive $154,538 to purchase classroom equipment and supplies such as textbooks, lab equipment and art supplies. The district will begin back-to-school planning with parents and teachers now to determine how best to use the one-time funding to reduce costs for parents and help teachers deliver B.C.’s new curriculum. This one-time grant is providing school districts with a total of $27.4 million.

Students in the district will also benefit from a new 80+ passenger school bus, thanks to $165,204 in School Bus Replacement Program funding. This year government is investing a total of $9.4 million to purchase about 71 new or replacement buses in 25 districts under the program.

As a result of B.C.'s strong economy and balanced budget, the Government of British Columbia is able to support record funding increases for students and B.C.’s education system. Budget 2017 commits an additional $740 million in operating funds over the next three years. Combined with $400 million in previously announced budget increases, this means an additional $1.1 billion in funding will benefit the K-12 system over the next three years.

In addition, Budget 2017 supports $2 billion in capital spending to upgrade or build new schools over the next three years

Coralee Oakes - MLA for Cariboo-North said:

“Our government is committed to providing British Columbian students with the resources they need to succeed. The capital, learning and bus funding included in these investments will help provide Quesnel students with the resources they need to succeed.”

2) Highways

a) Racing/Hydraulic Roads

The Province is moving forward with intersection improvements at Racing and Hydraulic Road on Highway 97 in Quesnel and will be seeking the public’s input into the planning and design in the months ahead, Cariboo-North MLA Coralee Oakes announced today on behalf of Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.

“Back in 2015 when the Province announced we would be undertaking a two-year study of the Highway 97 Quesnel Transportation Plan, we committed to working with the community to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and above all, enhance safety for motorists,” said Oakes. “The ministry’s work has honed in on some key locations, including the Racing/Hydraulic Road area. I’m pleased to announce we’ll be moving forward with these improvements and will hold future open houses for the public to provide input on the improvement options.”

Phase 1 of the Highway 97 Quesnel Transportation Plan determined that Highway 97 in the Racing/Hydraulic Road area is a high priority for improvements in the near future due to an above average rate of collisions and closely spaced intersections that inhibit easy traffic flow. The public will have an opportunity to provide feedback and help inform the ministry’s plans and designs for these intersection improvements through open houses that will be scheduled this summer.

Other key findings from Phase 1 illustrated that 92 per cent of all highway traffic along the corridor originates from or is destined for Quesnel, with only 8 per cent of traffic passing through the community without stopping. Additionally, the highway corridor just north and south of Quesnel sees approximately 6,000 – 7,000 vehicles per day.

The ministry is hosting an open house on April 3 to receive additional feedback for Phase 2 of the Highway 97 Quesnel Transportation Plan, with a goal to develop a comprehensive highway improvement strategy for Quesnel that will span a 25-year horizon, in addition to identifying a list of other short, medium and long-term infrastructure solutions to address congestion and enhance safety.

The B.C. government is working with rural British Columbians to help them build, grow and diversify their communities so they can create jobs and remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing economy. In 2016-17 alone, the government invested $3.6 billion in economic development activities targeted at rural B.C. such as improving connectivity and transportation infrastructure, and supporting Aboriginal people and young adults.

b) Highway 97 South near ?Esdilagh Reserve, south of Fort Alexandria

Safety and mobility along Highway 97 between Williams Lake and Quesnel will be improved as part of the $200-million third phase of the Cariboo Connector Strategy, Cariboo-North MLA Coralee Oakes announced today on behalf of Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.

“This project will see a portion of the funding used to widen a key section of Highway 97 to four lanes near ?Esdilagh Reserve, south of Fort Alexandria, as well as intersection and safety improvements,” said Oakes. “We have heard from motorists, and particularly commercial truck drivers, who regularly travel the corridor that expansion is much needed. This investment will bring in necessary improvements to enhance safety for drivers, in addition to growing the economy and creating jobs in communities along Highway 97 throughout the Cariboo. We look forward to working collaboratively with the ?Esdilagh community.”

This project is among the first four projects to get underway with funding for this phase of the Cariboo Connector Strategy. The ministry has committed $1-million to conduct engineering and development work for the first four projects of Phase 3, and engineering and design work will begin immediately.

The full suite of projects within Phase 3 of the Cariboo Connector Strategy is still in development. It is estimated that over 600 jobs will be created over the duration of this Phase 3 work.

This $200-million commitment to continue the upgrade of Highway 97 between Cache Creek and Prince George is a key component of B.C. on the Move, the Province’s 10-year transportation plan, and is one of the ways B.C. government is taking action to strengthen and grow rural communities.

The B.C. government is working with rural British Columbians to help them build, grow and diversify their communities so they can create jobs and remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing economy. In 2016-17 alone, the government invested $3.6 billion in economic development activities targeted at rural B.C. such as improving connectivity and transportation infrastructure, and supporting Aboriginal people and young adults

2 comments:

Caroline Dillabough said...

While I'm sure the injection of 'additional' funds is welcomed by the School District, it's interesting how a scheduled bus replacement, classroom supplies and textbooks and needed maintenance projects become a big funding announcement, just before the election. I would think the government should be embarrassed to NOT fund these things, rather than attempt to make political mileage from simply providing sufficient funding to pay for them. Not impressed. Sorry. Also not impressed with the very evident micro-management of School District budgets. Whatever happened to global funding and local decision making? Also not impressed.

Anonymous said...

The Racing Road intersection should be upgraded to a standard that will be condusive to putting in the bypass at that intersection. Not just throw a bunch of money at it before an election when it will have to be ripped out again for a cloverleaf when the bypass has to be put in and be upgraded to four lanes going north over the Quesnel River. Let's be proactive and have a larger view for the future of our area.