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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 2:20 AM
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B.C. looks to worker aid, not new infrastructure spending, to help revitalize economy

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B.C. won’t be adding to its ambitious plans to build more highways, bridges and transit projects, even as Ottawa offers extra cash for shovel-ready capital plans to help stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19, says the finance minister.

Carole James said she’s more interested in offering immediate and short-term support to the hundreds of thousands of B.C. workers who’ve lost their jobs than relying on developing new capital projects for employment.

It’s an approach supported by the B.C. business community.

“Infrastructure will certainly be part of it, but I think this economic recovery is also going to have to take into account things like education and training,” James said.

“Young people are going got be particularly hit if you look at the job loss numbers. That 18- to 30-year-old category is going to face challenges. The sectors hit hardest are retail and accommodation and tourism. Who tends to work in those industries? Young people. This is going to have to focus on investing in people.”

The federal infrastructure minister, Catherine McKenna, has said she’s considering billions for provincial projects that could quickly begin construction, in an attempt to create new jobs, boost businesses and stimulate the economy.

But B.C. already has a $20 billion capital plan for the next three years, previously praised by the business sector as ambitious and aggressive. Half of that is to be spent this financial year on schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, transit, housing and B.C. Hydro projects.

B.C. already has signed federal commitments for funding on major projects like the $2.8 billion Broadway Subway line.

“Many of the programs that the federal government has been talking about, we are already subscribed to,” said James. B.C. is “certainly open to more funds,” said James, but it’s unclear whether increasing the federal share of previously announced projects is what Ottawa has in mind for stimulus.

James is taking the right approach, said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the B.C. Business Council.

Although major infrastructure spending has historically been used to help pull economies out of recession, it now takes so long to get permits and environmental approvals for large B.C. building projects that it would take years to get any actual economic benefit, he said.

“The governments in Canada collectively have created regulatory systems that have made it almost impossible to use infrastructure spending as a counter-cyclical tool because by the time you get through the approval processes, the recession is over,” said Finlayson.

...

Meanwhile, S&P Global Ratings has reaffirmed the province’s AAA credit rating, but downgraded its economic outlook from stable to negative. S&P’s wrote in its report that B.C. retains its “considerable economic strengths” of low debt, fiscal prudence, relatively wealthy residents, abundant natural resources, and close proximity to Asian markets. But if the province posts notable deficits in the next two years it could lose its AAA status, according to the agency.

...
Vancouver Sun
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  #2  
Old Posted May 20, 2020, 4:07 AM
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Feel the ndp have done better then I expected so far, this is a mistake. If you have a bucket of money to kickstart the economy you are better off spending it on projects and creating jobs. The money still gets into the hands of the workers and you have a few capital projects to show for it which will continue providing dividends for years. Putting it straight into the hands of the workers provides only an initial boost. It's like putting in a new battery when the alternator needs replacing.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 4:40 AM
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Although major infrastructure spending has historically been used to help pull economies out of recession, it now takes so long to get permits and environmental approvals for large B.C. building projects that it would take years to get any actual economic benefit, he said.

“The governments in Canada collectively have created regulatory systems that have made it almost impossible to use infrastructure spending as a counter-cyclical tool because by the time you get through the approval processes, the recession is over,” said Finlayson.
That's why in a pandemic you can screw regulatory approval and just build it.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 4:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jlousa View Post
Feel the ndp have done better then I expected so far, this is a mistake. If you have a bucket of money to kickstart the economy you are better off spending it on projects and creating jobs. The money still gets into the hands of the workers and you have a few capital projects to show for it which will continue providing dividends for years. Putting it straight into the hands of the workers provides only an initial boost. It's like putting in a new battery when the alternator needs replacing.
Agree and disagree. What other big-job projects can we get off the ground that aren't already going?

Perhaps throwing more money and people at transit and hydro projects can get them going, but what's the direct economic benefit?

Supporting workers and others will help get those service industry jobs back. If restaurants and local tourism is doing well, they'll need to hire more. I'm not sure how the government kick starts that however.

Promoting a "travel BC summer" would be a good start.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 5:50 AM
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Off the top of my head, new st Paul's hospital could start pretty quick as could going ahead with seismic upgrades at all the schools that still need it. Work on expanding the sewer/storm drain separation and those are just Vancouver. There are hundreds of such projects across hw province sitting. As much as people shit all over trickle down economics getting 1000s of trades jobs going will bolster the restaurant and retail industry immediately. Hotels and airlines are screwed for a while unfortunately.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 7:11 AM
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Originally Posted by jlousa View Post
Off the top of my head, new st Paul's hospital could start pretty quick as could going ahead with seismic upgrades at all the schools that still need it. Work on expanding the sewer/storm drain separation and those are just Vancouver. There are hundreds of such projects across hw province sitting. As much as people shit all over trickle down economics getting 1000s of trades jobs going will bolster the restaurant and retail industry immediately. Hotels and airlines are screwed for a while unfortunately.
Not convinced. Construction never stopped during phase one and financial contagion that we saw in 2008 that jeopardized projects (like olympic village) was stopped due to lessons learned from 2008.

The COIVD recession is definitely not 2008. A lot of hurt is happening to service workers, and those companies that have more onerous public health orders. I'd still like to see stimulus as new infrastructure, but make no mistake, it won't make as large difference to those workers most affected.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 10:24 AM
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Could always just continue with the George Massey Bridge that nearly had its contractor selected and has already had its preliminary work done...

How is that for a shovel ready project!

Also seems very short sighted not to at least secure federal funding for the entire length of the Expo Line extension.
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  #8  
Old Posted May 20, 2020, 1:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jlousa View Post
Off the top of my head, new st Paul's hospital could start pretty quick as could going ahead with seismic upgrades at all the schools that still need it. Work on expanding the sewer/storm drain separation and those are just Vancouver. There are hundreds of such projects across hw province sitting. As much as people shit all over trickle down economics getting 1000s of trades jobs going will bolster the restaurant and retail industry immediately. Hotels and airlines are screwed for a while unfortunately.
I'm not sure St. Paul's can go too much faster than it is, or will once a proponent is picked.

Sewer upgrades is a good one, but how many jobs will that actually provide?

I am shitting on trickle down economics, it doesn't work. Bailouts of big business aren't popular, or useful in many circumstances.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 20, 2020, 2:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post

Also seems very short sighted not to at least secure federal funding for the entire length of the Expo Line extension.
Agreed. Same with the entire length of the Millennium line extension to UBC. That way you create additional construction jobs for redevelopments for the mid-term and then those redevelopments provide jobs (like retail/office) for the long term. Seems basic that Skytrain infrastructure is a basic solution, especially considering that the mentioned extensions have all had some preliminary work done.

If the province really wants to retrain their entire workforce then they should explore subsidizing educational training programs for industries that they are looking to switch people to; but which educational programs they would select would be anyone's guess .

If the NDP aren't careful then this will easily be their downfall as everyone will remember them as the party that failed to react to an economic crisis.
And they won't be able to recover their reputation for generations. Based on the article it seems that the NDP are grossly underestimating the medium and long term impacts that COVID-19 will have on Canada and on BC.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 2:40 PM
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Metro Vancouver is already facing a huge skilled trade shortage so starting an already planned project early would just add greater costs to the mix. We already have Construction companies from outside the lower mainland doing upgrades to civil works They are bring crews in from who knows where. So just figure it as 200 bucks a day for every imported worker for LOA.

What is really needed is increasing the trade school through time. I here many apprentices are only doing part of the program as waitlist is to long and never finish because of it.

There is no need to create construction jobs in this city.
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  #11  
Old Posted May 20, 2020, 4:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cairnstone View Post
Metro Vancouver is already facing a huge skilled trade shortage so starting an already planned project early would just add greater costs to the mix. We already have Construction companies from outside the lower mainland doing upgrades to civil works They are bring crews in from who knows where. So just figure it as 200 bucks a day for every imported worker for LOA.

What is really needed is increasing the trade school through time. I here many apprentices are only doing part of the program as waitlist is to long and never finish because of it.

There is no need to create construction jobs in this city.
Yep agree with this. We are at least 1-2 years away from seeing construction workers actually start having to look for jobs. By that time, tourism will have recovered.

The people out of work are in the low/un-skilled service and hospitality sector. More spots for trades and other education would be a great use of money. Fill up as many slots in post-secondary job training as possible, through subsidy if needed.
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  #12  
Old Posted May 20, 2020, 6:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jlousa View Post
Off the top of my head, new st Paul's hospital could start pretty quick as could going ahead with seismic upgrades at all the schools that still need it. Work on expanding the sewer/storm drain separation and those are just Vancouver. There are hundreds of such projects across hw province sitting. As much as people shit all over trickle down economics getting 1000s of trades jobs going will bolster the restaurant and retail industry immediately. Hotels and airlines are screwed for a while unfortunately.
Yep, some forget the NDP already has some big projects in the works: St. Pauls, Richmond General, Burnaby General, the Patullo Bridge and Broadway Skytrain.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 6:12 PM
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Originally Posted by WarrenC12 View Post
Agree and disagree. What other big-job projects can we get off the ground that aren't already going?

Perhaps throwing more money and people at transit and hydro projects can get them going, but what's the direct economic benefit?

Supporting workers and others will help get those service industry jobs back. If restaurants and local tourism is doing well, they'll need to hire more. I'm not sure how the government kick starts that however.

Promoting a "travel BC summer" would be a good start.
There are some people saying the virus will increase stay-at-home work enormously and thus kill hot RE zones.
I think that's wishful thinking for most businesses, even tech, though.

There's the Langley and UBC extension for Skytrain, the George Massey Bridge, the extension of the HWY 1 HOV to Mt. Lehman...

Granted, it's not likely the recession will last as long as 2008.
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  #14  
Old Posted May 20, 2020, 6:25 PM
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There are some people saying the virus will increase stay-at-home work enormously and thus kill hot RE zones.
I think that's wishful thinking for most businesses, even tech, though.

There's the Langley and UBC extension for Skytrain, the George Massey Bridge, the extension of the HWY 1 HOV to Mt. Lehman...

Granted, it's not likely the recession will last as long as 2008.
Getting funding for UBC, Langley, and Massey crossing would help, along with the HOV extension, though they are already starting that, it would just extend scope.

None of that can happen overnight though. The opportunity I see is getting the funding locked and promised, but the Feds will be looking for more immediate projects.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 7:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jlousa View Post
As much as people shit all over trickle down economics getting 1000s of trades jobs going will bolster the restaurant and retail industry immediately. Hotels and airlines are screwed for a while unfortunately.
Trickle down economics doesn’t work because the wealthy have a tendency to hoard money. The workers you’ve mentioned are not of that social class and thus the concept doesn’t really apply.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 7:14 PM
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Originally Posted by fredinno View Post
There are some people saying the virus will increase stay-at-home work enormously and thus kill hot RE zones.
I think that's wishful thinking for most businesses, even tech, though.

There's the Langley and UBC extension for Skytrain, the George Massey Bridge, the extension of the HWY 1 HOV to Mt. Lehman...

Granted, it's not likely the recession will last as long as 2008.
While demand across all categories is down, its proving more robust on the detached side. Likely we will see people moving more towards townhouses/detached as working from home pushes people to see their home as a place to spend the day rather than just sleep in.

You'd think working from home would increase movement away from downtown to the suburbs.

But we do have city plans stating where density should go, so I'm unsure if the city would allow this in significant amounts without changing the plan.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 8:03 PM
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While demand across all categories is down, its proving more robust on the detached side. Likely we will see people moving more towards townhouses/detached as working from home pushes people to see their home as a place to spend the day rather than just sleep in.

You'd think working from home would increase movement away from downtown to the suburbs.

But we do have city plans stating where density should go, so I'm unsure if the city would allow this in significant amounts without changing the plan.
Because the detached side already had a downturn earlier, I suppose.

Thing is there's not much land for detached even if working from home takes off (I doubt it will). Also, a 3 bedroom apartment is of comparable size to a townhouse, give or take. (Townhouses have stairs, apartments tend to be minimalistic in terms of size for 3 bedrooms). The issue is cost of construction.

Offices are also crucial for industrial densification/gentrification projects, so I'm not sure I would be celebrating their decline.
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Originally Posted by WarrenC12 View Post
Getting funding for UBC, Langley, and Massey crossing would help, along with the HOV extension, though they are already starting that, it would just extend scope.

None of that can happen overnight though. The opportunity I see is getting the funding locked and promised, but the Feds will be looking for more immediate projects.
Exactly. Tunneling more will take a while, but not laying down more lanes or building and laying up more prefab segments, making them good for stimulus.
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Old Posted May 20, 2020, 8:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jlousa View Post
As much as people shit all over trickle down economics getting 1000s of trades jobs going will bolster the restaurant and retail industry immediately. Hotels and airlines are screwed for a while unfortunately.
Keynesian spending, not trickle-down. Trickle would be giving Chip Wilson, Jimmy Pattison (et al) massive tax cuts and expecting them to bail out the economy instead.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2020, 3:07 AM
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Building BC's Recovery - govTogetherBC

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The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged and changed our province. Across B.C., we have been touched by job loss and change, health concerns, worries about how our families and communities can cope, and increasing uncertainty about the future.

We’ve made progress because of our commitment to supporting each other and coming together as a community to respond.

As we start our recovery, the choices we make in the coming weeks and months can help us build an economy — and a province — that works for everyone. Have your say by completing the online survey below or participating in a virtual event to share your ideas and priorities.

...
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Old Posted Jul 5, 2020, 8:33 PM
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Feds announce go-ahead of funding for 92 B.C. infrastructure projects

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The federal government has announced it is going ahead with the funding of 92 B.C. infrastructure projects as the first step of its resumption of the “Investing in Canada” plan, officials said this morning.

According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the projects will amount to a total of $150 million and are aimed at creating “good, well-paying jobs” across the province.

“We are controlling the spread of the virus, and because the situation continues to improve, we can now pick up where we left off on many of the things we put on hold over the spring,” Trudeau said while also thanking B.C. premier John Horgan for the collaboration.

It is unclear which Metro Vancouver area projects will receive funding in this first round, although federal and provincial officials have confirmed 22 such projects (eight of which will be in indigenous communities) will be on Vancouver Island.

These projects - to which Ottawa will contribute $33.2 million while the province chips in $8.7 million and the project applicants fund $12.2 million - will include an Arts and Heritage Hub in Ladysmith and a culture centre at the Huu-ay-aht First Nations.

Other projects getting the go-ahead, officials said, include items involving improvements to community centres, health centres, storm water management, drinking water and wastewater facilities, cultural facilities and social support hubs.

...

Among the Lower Mainland project originally slated to receive funding in the $180 billion Investing in Canada plan (processed through Infrastructure Canada) are the planning/design and early works for the SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway extension, as well as similar endeavours in the South of Fraser rapid transit initiative.
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