North Island MLA looks back on 2016

North Island MLA says 2016 was a tough year when it comes to rate increases

Though North Island MLA Claire Trevena feels she has made progress on some of her smaller projects, she said that for many people, 2016 has been a tough year.

“The year has ended with the news that MSP is going to be going up again,” she said.

“We see ICBC is going up, so people are really feeling squeezed around the communities. And that, as Opposition, is frustrating.”

Since the B.C. Legislature didn’t sit in the fall, Trevena has been holding public meetings in communities within the riding and gathering feedback to take to the House.

A recent focus of hers has been Internet connectivity in rural communities.

“I think that the engagement of people in the issue has been very good,” Trevena said.

“People are very concerned about the ability to connect, and clearly want to see things happen there.”

She has been talking not only with the community but with Internet providers as well.

She said she plans on taking the information to the government and saying something along the lines of ‘what are you going to do about it?’.

On a hyperlocal scale, Trevena is pleased that city council is moving forward with the bylaw that will prevent having pay parking at the new Campbell River hospital once it opens next fall.

“Everybody in the community has been working really hard,” she said.

“It’s really necessary.”

She is also looking forward to the removal of the diversion dam on the Salmon River.

“It is looking very hopeful that that might be gone by summer, when the people who care and love salmon – and that’s many people in Campbell River – are saying that the drop dead date is July of next year, so hopefully that is going to happen,” she said.

She is also pleased with the tourism numbers and the growing energy in new businesses in the area.

She held a round table with Women in Business earlier in the year and is excited about the ideas that are coming together.

As the transportation critic, this year has been slow moving.  So far, she says, she hasn’t made headway addressing the high user fees of BC Ferries, but she is keeping it on the front burner.

“Governments and BC Ferries know that we are aware that this is a highway that needs to be funded as such rather than funded by the users,” she said.

She is also against the government spending $3.5 billion  to build a bridge to alleviate the Massey tunnel congestion in the Lower Mainland.

“There are so many ways you could be spending $3.5 billion,” she said. “That is healthcare money, that is education money.”

Trevena believes that it is because of poor government decisions over the last 15 years that the people of B.C. are struggling to pay the bills.

“We’ve got so many things that are squeezing people, and then they’ve got all these extra costs that I think could be avoidable if we had better management of our utilities,” she said.

Trevena is hopeful that next year will see a change in government. Though the NDP hasn’t officially released its platform, some promises have already been made including:

  • Increasing minimum wage

  • Phasing out MSP over four years

  • Providing $10 a day child care

  • Nixing Site C

  • Stopping Kinder Morgan

Trevena said the NDP has its own energy plan that it plans on implementing which involves localizing energy production as well as reducing energy consumption.

The plan involves incentives to retrofit homes and businesses, which will in turn create local jobs.

“We can’t risk our coast with having more tankers on our coast. I mean, we saw what happened in Bella Bella when the tug went,” she said.