Funding promises were scattered by provincial government officials like Easter eggs during last week’s annual UBCM convention, but how many will actually emerge from their shell is anyone’s bet.
There was Premier Christy Clark’s pledge of $509 million over 10 years to make the Trans-Canada highway into four lanes from Kamloops to the Alberta border.
Local politicians welcomed the news, citing the high volume of traffic along that stretch and noting how improvements would help reduce the number of crashes, many of which are fatal.
There’s no doubt it’s something this region desperately needs, but we’ve heard this song before — the reigning NDP government of the ’90s stated its goal was to four-lane from Cache Creek to the Rockies. The widening project has continued inching along over the decades, so another promise that the work is going to continue is, well, not exactly groundbreaking.
There was a commitment made to fund the second phase of the RIH master site plan, a pleasant surprise from Health Minister Margaret McDiarmid for the city’s mayor and council.
Mayor Peter Milobar said having this work put into the province’s capital plan means now it’s “a question of when, not if” the hospital will see the upgrades, including a surgical tower, come to fruition.
But again, improvements at Royal Inland Hospital are oft dangled by governments of the day, so forgive us if we aren’t waiting curbside with shovels for that part of the project either.
For the North Thompson, the government vowed to ensure power is extended to the Yellowhead Mining copper project, if it is approved.
And all three promises are, of course, contingent on the Liberals actually staying in power after the provincial election in May. If the latest polls mean anything, with the NDP holding 46 per cent support and the Liberals trailing with 25, the promises made today may not carry a lot of weight into 2013.
In other words, while there is hope that the promised eggs might hatch into living, breathing chicks one day, there’s also concern that like so many Easter eggs, they’ll end up lost in the seat cushions.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.