Bike paths, seniors housing make up spending wish list

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen held Terrace town hall for feedback on what to leverage in coming budget

NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley brought the question to Terrace residents at a town hall meeting last week: what should promised federal infrastructure spending go towards in the Northwest?

Improved walkways for pedestrians, more bike paths, more assisted living for seniors, a recreation centre for youth and building up local farming all made the list Feb. 11 as Skeena – Bulkley NDP MP Nathan Cullen asked locals how the federal government should come through on its promise to increase infrastructure spending.

Cullen’s session was one of a series he’s holding in advance of the first budget of the Trudeau federal government which is expected the end of March.

Increasing spending on infrastructure by as much as $10 billion, even if it meant going into debt, was a key portion of Trudeau’s election platform going into last October’s election.

“This is an important thing to do,” Cullen told the 45 or so attendees in the arena banquet room, as he encouraged them to prioritize what is most needed in the community. “We are going to see a budget in four to six weeks.”

“As a Member of Parliament I don’t apply for funding,” he said afterwords. “I help groups and organizations and I hope this informs them as much as it does me. What happens next is we sit down, and the city starts making some applications. There are different streams, and based on this, hopefully we have a much higher level of public buy-in, so it’s not just some mayor or my personal agenda that’s validated,” said Cullen.

“Ultimately, we want to be able to say this came from the citizens who chose to participate. That has a lot more credibly when you are fighting for funding.”

Cullen added that the exact amount the northwest might receive has not been determined, and that usually infrastructure spending is generally divided per province and given out through grants.