B.C’s Transportation minister is insisting the four laning of the Trans-Canada east of Kamloops will not change in cost with the addition of the new Community Benefit Agreement requirement.
The new labour agreement by the provincial government’s own admission could raise costs on big infrastructure projects by four to seven per cent.
But Claire Trevena insists the widening of the Trans-Canada will remain on budget.
“We are looking at the four to seven per cent as being within the budget. We are looking at projects going forward that some haven’t gone out to tender yet, I say that with frustration, the figure we have will include that four to seven per cent that flex area.”
While work in some stretches has been delayed until 2019, even that deadline doesn’t sound entirely firm.
“Yes we are looking at 2019 and hopefully we will be able to start seeing some work happen there.”
Some of the work has been delayed by two years even though the minister insists it is being fast-tracked.
Meanwhile, Claire Trevena’s predecessor is not buying it.
Kamloops South MLA, and former Transportation Minister, Todd Stone says the Community Benefits Agreements could inflate highway widening costs by 100-million-dollars.
“It is not possible to say the previously announced scope on $1.3 billion worth of projects will stay the same when you add an additional $100 million in net new cost into the mix. It is not possible. They have to be in scaling back mode I would imagine at this point in terms of figuring out how do they cut some corners. How do they reduce four laning sections. How do they pull interchanges out.”
“Or they have to throw more money at it.”
“Or they have to throw more money at it but come clean.”
Stone noting with work on some stretches now delayed until at least next year both labour and materials costs will increase as well.
He also takes issue with the minister saying the work is being fast-tracked noting he announced some of these projects three years ago.