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Chamber calls for action on emergency management, highway upgrades, and return of bridge tolls

Todd Corrigall
Todd Corrigall

The Prince George Chamber of Commerce presented three resolutions during the 2019 BC Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting in Burnaby the week of May 20 and all three were adopted by the provincial body.

“We are excited that the delegations from chambers across B.C. were in alignment with the policy resolutions brought forward by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce,” said Todd Corrigall, CEO, Prince George Chamber of Commerce. “This work is the result of tremendous engagement with PGCC members, Chambers across the province and our internal Advocacy Committee.”

The three new policy resolutions brought forward were:

Emergency Management: Enhancing Preparedness and Prevention:

The Prince George Chamber of Commerce recommends that the provincial government:

1. Fully implement the recommendations from the Abbott/Chapman Report.

2. Develop a long term vision and action plan to move towards disaster prevention, including strategic flood mitigation, and interface wildfire prevention.

3. Develop partnerships with forest licensees, tenure holders, professionals and the business community to form operational agreements and new prevention initiatives.

4. Develop a priority policy for B.C. based companies, contractors, and consultants for emergency planning, and for emergency operations.

5. Seek technological solutions to support the Province’s Emergency Management system, and particularly those that benefit front-line workers.

6. Recognize the critical support that local community-based businesses provide to emergency response efforts, and ensure that voucher programs, accommodations, and other support programs are opened up to the broader business community.

Investment in Northern Highway Infrastructure – Ensuring Safe Roadways for all British Columbians:

The Prince George Chamber of Commerce recommends that the provincial government:

1. Include in the Ministry of Transportation Capital Plan a number of improvements to highways in northern British Columbia, specifically:

a) Undertake rerouting of Highway 16 to the south of Prince George city proper so that this heavily travelled commercial and dangerous goods route no longer bisects the downtown of a major city, and provide the same improvements to safety and congestion in Prince George as are being developed in Cache Creek and Quesnel

b) Initiate planning for future projects on the Cariboo Connector after completion of the remaining projects, determine a timeline and commit budget for the four-lane expansion of the Connector by 2028

c) Upgrade and replace structures such as bridges and overpasses to accommodate industry needs, and embark on technical and safety improvements to Highway 97 from Quesnel to Dawson Creek which will enable 5.3 metre (18 foot) high clearances for transporting large manufactured equipment between Central and Northeast BC

d) Conduct a needs assessment of the Cariboo Connector and Highway 16 to identify high-priority areas for the installation or alteration of median, guardrail and wildlife barriers to improve highway safety and access for emergency vehicles

e) Work with Chambers of Commerce, Municipalities, Regional Districts and Destination Marketing Organizations along Northern British Columbia highways to ensure proper engagement is performed with user groups at all levels

Return to User Pay System for TransLink Infrastructure:

The Prince George Chamber of Commerce recommends that the provincial government:

1) Take steps to ensure that tax fairness is practiced in the financing of TransLink’s infrastructure development, including:

a) Recognizing that TransLink has passed the responsibility for the Golden Ears and Patullo bridges onto all other British Columbians;

b) Prioritizing the use of efficient revenue raising mechanisms, like tolls, instead of burdening all British Columbians with increased corporate, income, and sales taxes.

In total, 71 policy resolutions were brought forward to the BC Chamber of Commerce assembly.

At the conclusion of the AGM, it was formally announced that the Prince George Chamber of Commerce will be the host Chamber for the 2020 BC Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in May.

“We would like to thank Tourism Prince George for their support in developing the bid package to host the 2020 BC Chamber of Commerce AGM. We look forward to welcoming 300+ delegates for a fantastic week of learning, policy debate and engagement with our members,” said Corrigall.