B.C. Premier John Horgan walks from his B.C. legislature office to the rose garden to speak to reporters, June 3, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)

Another $1 billion borrowed for B.C. municipalities, transit

Province wants to match latest federal COVID-19 aid

The B.C. government is seeking approval for another $1 billion in borrowing to match funds from the federal government to keep transit systems and local facilities like libraries and recreation centres running in the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier John Horgan emphasized July 23 that transit is key to getting more people back to work and school in the fall, and he warned that further restrictions are a possibility as education starts up and people spend more time indoors.

Finance Minister Carole James asked the legislature July 22 for authority to spend an additional $1 billion, on top of an unprecedented deficit. Finance officials have estimated the 2020-21 deficit to be $12.5 billion, with other scenarios as high as $15 billion or as low as $10 billion, depending on pandemic conditions and businesses recovering and paying taxes.

James said the new spending authority is based on getting the maximum amount of federal restart funds for transit and municipal services. She announced last week that B.C. was expecting about $2 billion under the Trudeau government’s “safe restart agreement” with provinces.

“We know how critical transportation is for our economic recovery, and we know the needs that are there, the challenges that Translink, that B.C. Transit have facing,” James told reporters at the legislature. “We also know municipalities are facing needs as well. So this gives us the ability to be able to hopefully maximize those dollars.”

RELATED: B.C. set to match $1 billion of Ottawa restart fund

RELATED: B.C. tourism industry seeks nearly half of restart fund

In his weekly session with reporters at the legislature rose garden, Horgan congratulated most B.C. residents for taking care in a reopening economy, and scolded young people shown in widely seen videos of outdoor parties.

“After observing footage from Kelowna, after observing footage of a drum circle in the Lower Mainland, I have to say to British Columbians, ‘C’mon, you’re better than that’,” Horgan said. “We made better progress than anywhere in Canada, up until the last couple of weeks. My appeal to you, young and old, be responsible, do your best to stay away from other people.”

Horgan’s concern follows several days of more than 30 new COVID-19 cases being identified. That’s still well below the latest results in Alberta, and far below Washington state, which is recording hundreds of cases a day.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New video takes viewers soaring over Cultus Lake

Posted to YouTube, the vid showcases the natural beauty of the lake and its surroundings

Chilliwack Community Services ends Community Driver program

The volunteer-driven offering helped clients get to important medical appointments

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Expanded COVID-19 testing and collection centre opening at UFV

New Abbotsford service location will now conduct as many as 500 tests daily

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Most Read