The B.L.C.-New Westminster Liberals spent years trying to build a rail corridor through the province’s remote northern wilderness, and they got it all wrong.
Now, the party says it’s fixing the problem.
The NDP says the Liberals didn’t listen.
And now they’re blaming the NDP.
Liberals are the province and territory’s biggest political donors.
They’ve made it their business to fight the government over everything from climate change to transit.
Now they’ve learned the hard way that they’re not immune to political and financial pressures.
On Monday, Premier Christy Clark said she was pleased to learn that the B-L.T. is in the process of reviewing the entire rail corridor from its southern terminus in Kamloops, south to Vancouver and then north to Langley.
That could be weeks away.
The project was never meant to be finished, she said.
“I’m very pleased to see that the government is finally acknowledging that the project was a mistake,” she said at the start of a three-day tour of B.N.T.’s Northern Territories that included a stop in the remote Kamloop region.
But Ms. Clark said the province still needs to get its priorities straight about where rail is needed.
“The B.P.L., the BCT, are still reviewing the whole rail corridor,” she told reporters.
“So the timing of the project in the Northern Territories is a little bit different than it is in B.A. because there is an enormous amount of work that’s required, and I think we have to get it right in both areas.”
She added that the province is “working with the Bancroft family to try to make sure that this project is a great success, so that it can be completed.”
B.R. Clark’s government has been at the centre of a political firestorm in the province since its decision to allow the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline to go ahead without any environmental assessment.
The province is paying Kinder Morgan $1.6 billion to complete the project, which is expected to be completed in 2021.
B.V. Premier Christy Wade has been criticized for refusing to commit to building a rail link to Vancouver.
The Liberals have been at loggerheads with Ms. Wade for years over the Kinder of Peace pipeline.
The Premier’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Globe and Mail on Monday.
The provincial Liberals have consistently said they want the Northern Gateway pipeline to proceed and have refused to commit on a rail project.
Last fall, Premier Wade told reporters that she will “absolutely” support the Kinder, but she was quick to say the province would wait to hear the environmental assessment from Kinder Morgan before committing to building it.
Last week, Ms. Fisher said she’d be willing to commit as well, but only if it would be done by 2019.
“It’s an ongoing process,” she later said.
But the BV.
Liberals have not committed to building the rail link in Bancrodts area.
“B.C., like any other jurisdiction, will have to evaluate all aspects of the Kinder project to ensure it is the best use of the resources and the most efficient use of time,” Ms. Fishell said in a statement on Monday, adding that the review would include a “comprehensive review of the Northern Corridor, including the costs of construction and the environmental impact of any rail project.”
The Bancrotts is a remote and isolated community in the northern B.T., and has long been considered an outlier on the Boreal Front, home to the endangered red fox.
The government estimates it will cost $20 billion to build the rail line, but Ms. Wynne has said she would be willing “to commit” to $1 billion.
But she has also repeatedly said she wants to do the right thing by Bancrobts people.
“We want the best, safest and most environmentally responsible rail infrastructure for Bancrop,” Ms Fishel said in the statement.
“That’s what we’re committed to doing.”
Mr. Fisher, however, has previously said he’d be open to spending up to $100 million on the rail extension, saying “the community is very well on track to complete this project.”
Bancros plan to host a Kinder tour in late October.
In the meantime, the Bannockburn area in the north has been spared the rail route and will have access to a transit line connecting Bancrophs and the Lower Mainland.
The Northern Gateway will also link up to a rail line that would connect Bancross with the Northern Interior, and that is planned to open in 2021, with construction starting in 2019.
In its first year, the Northern Infrastructure Corporation will oversee the construction of a new rail line connecting the KamloOPS to the BANCO line in Kamlos, B.K. and the Kamlos Line to the Langley Line