The Haisla Bridge. (File photo)

Roads, hospital, bridge focus for Skeena MLA

Improvements needed to absorb LNG impact, says Ellis Ross

Skeena Liberal MLA Ellis Ross says he’s looking for substantial provincial spending commitments this year so that Kitimat and Terrace can better absorb the impact of the multi-billion dollar LNG Canada project.

Topping his list is a start date for the new Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace, improvements or a replacement for the Haisla Bridge in Kitimat and money to improve a road leading to the Bench residential area of Terrace.

Both the new Mills Memorial and Lanfear Hill Road vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, speak to the prospect of an increasing population driven by the LNG Canada plant and spin-offs, while a substantially rehabilitated or replaced Haisla River Bridge is necessary to accommodate a growing amount of industrial traffic going to the plant location.

Announced in early 2017 by the former BC Liberal government and again in early 2018 by the current NDP government, the business plan for a new Mills remains a work in progress.

“There’s a lot that needs to be done to prepare both Kitimat and Terrace,” said Ross.

Currently, the District of Kitimat faces borrowing $20 million to either refurbish the existing Haisla Bridge, or as one-third payment for the replacement of the bridge, the other two-thirds possibly coming from the province and the federal government.

Ross said a commitment for the Haisla Bridge project is needed soon from both the federal and provincial governments and thinks there’s an opportunity to put pressure on Ottowa leading up to the federal election this October.

“How do you create that tension?” Ross said of securing federal finances for the bridge project. “How do you get your name on the list?”

“It’s important that the provincial government be involved. You need that kind of infrastructure in place.”

Ross said he’s also keeping an eye on the Mills Memorial replacement plan, currently estimated to cost in the region of $380 million and will be pressing the government for a recommendation from the Treasury Board which approves all large-scale expenditures.

“I’m one of those who doesn’t count their chickens before they’ve hatched,” said Ross.

“Where is that commitment? If there is one, don’t sit on it. Is it in the [provincial] budget? If not, why not?”

As for improvements to Lanfear Hill, a key route leading to the Bench residential area of Terrace where close to 200 building lots are being proposed, Ross said Terrace needs senior government assistance to handle a projected population increase.

“There are a number of things going on in Terrace — like the [Skeena Sawmills] pellet plant,” he added.

Ross made the comments as the provincial legislature prepares for its spring sitting which began with a speech from the throne Feb. 12. The budget was released Feb. 19.

– with files from Gerry Leibel

Email the newsroom

Visit our Facebook page

Typos? Email the editor!

Just Posted

Terrace U14 Ringette team wins gold at BC Provincials

Coach says this season was an unexpected success for the players

Aussies buy majority stake in Red Chris mine

Company looks forward to relationship with Tahltan Nation

Slowed traffic on Kalum St. as crews replace telephone pole

Maintenance work expected to finish by tomorrow

Atlantis Taekwondo takes home 57 medals in Smithers’ tournament

Terrace made up the majority on the mat with 32 members

Kermode Friendship Society introduces program to employ Terrace homeless

Employment skills training key to building self-sufficiency, says homeless prevention worker

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

Most Read