The jury is still out on a decision on the provincial budget as far as Coralee Oakes is concerned.
But she says at this point it doesn’t look like there is a lot for the North Cariboo…
“At first blush I was incredibly nervous that I didn’t see some of the investments that we have been moving forward, like for example the hospital, and I am hopeful around the new middle school as well that is desperately needed in the community. I recognize that there is a considerable amount of money that is being invested into infrastructure in communities and it is my hope that the significant projects for the Cariboo will move forward, so as we go through estimates I will be drawing out and asking more specific questions.”
Oakes says only project worth more than 50 million dollars were mentioned in the budget so she is hopeful that there will be some projects geared towards the Cariboo.
She also hopes to see something for the washed out West Fraser Road in this budget.
Oakes says she will also be looking closely at the money earmarked for wildfire recovery…
“There is an additional increase in the Wildfire Resiliency Program. They’re moving to 101 million dollars per year but where are they moving that into ? Is that going to translate into more support in communities for the wildfire service branch, or if that is just a new name for increasing the investment that was committed for connectivity in communities, because that was a 50 million dollar announcement, so again in estimates we want to see how these investments will actually translate into our communities.”
Oakes says she is also concerned that the budget for highway corridor rehabilitation has dropped from 58 million to 27 million dollars.
And she is also concerned about the forest industry after the government announced that forest revenue projections are expected to fall by 16.8 percent in 2019-2020 and by 4.1 percent in each of the two following years…
“For communities like Quesnel and the Cariboo, that is a significant red flag and what I would have liked to have seen is where is the support going to be for skills and trades training, and support for workers and small businesses in the community to look at transition.”