Temporary, supportive modular housing in Maple Ridge. (THE NEWS - files)

No bridge for Maple Ridge, notes Liberal candidate

Budget spends record amount on hospitals, roads

B.C.’s NDP government is bragging that it’s spending the highest amount on capital projects over three years, $23 billion, for roads, hospitals, schools, and housing but the Liberal candidate for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows is pointing out a new bridge in Maple Ridge is not on the list

Cheryl Ashlie said this week that Budget 2020, brought down on Tuesday, doesn’t mention a bridge at 240th Street over the Alouette River which would provide a second access to Silver Valley and help ease traffic heading to Golden Ears Provincial Park.

Neither is there any mention of a replacement for Pitt Meadows secondary or any post secondary institute for Maple Ridge, nor a youth safe house, Ashlie said in a news release.

“NDP MLAs Bob D’Eith and Lisa Beare claim they have been advocating for our communities for three years, but this budget proves they are failing to get anything done for British Columbians,” Ashlie said.

“While the NDP continue to have no plan for economic growth or how to tackle our communities’ most-critical issues such as education and health care, families here in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are going to keep feeling the squeeze of John Horgan’s affordability crisis,” she said.

The government said provincial budgets will be balanced for the next three years and is introducing a new tax on the top one per cent of income earners. It’s also started charging provincial sales tax on pop and is creating a new needs-based student grant, BC Access Grant, of up to $4,000 a year.

Pitt Meadows UBC professor Paul Kershaw said that the NDP has improved housing but the current budget eases up on efforts to build affordable housing. He notes that the government has cut back by 15 per cent the number of affordable units it previously promised.

The slower pace with which the government is addressing housing affordability is happening, “… despite predictions in its 2020 budget (p. 74) that the value of homes will rise over the next few years, increasing unaffordability problems.”

Read more: Latest concept for 240th Street bridge cheaper, lower

Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith said Thursday that housing starts this year are higher than what the Liberals had projected, and that income taxes have been reduced.

“The BC Liberals would do better to support us as we address their years of neglect, especially on the housing crisis they created that led to the infamous tent city,” D’Eith said.

Read more: Maple Ridge, province talk long-term housing for homeless

“We’ve put millions back in the pockets of Maple Ridge families through child care subsidies and support, lowering the cap on rental increases, and eliminating MSP entirely this year,” D’Eith said.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

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