What are we to make of Premier Christy Clark’s announcement that her government will work with BC Hydro to construct a new power transmission line into the North Thompson Valley?
Clark made the announcement during her speech at the recent UBCM convention in Victoria.
Her actual words were, “We believe in companies like Yellowhead Mining in the North Thompson, and that’s why we’re working with Hydro to connect them to the power that they need.”
As indicated in the article on page A3, both Yellowhead Mining president Ian Smith and Clearwater mayor John Harwood were cautiously optimistic after hearing the announcement.
It wouldn’t be accurate to say they were overly enthusiastic, however.
Clark didn’t give a timeline for construction of the transmission line. The announcement was near the end of her speech, and was just one of several big ticket items promised.
She said the province would spend another $509 million over the next 10 years for four-laning the Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to Alberta.
The George Massey Tunnel in Vancouver will be replaced, and $207 million will be spent in new road, school and health projects throughout B.C.
The list goes on. For example, she said they would work with the communities in the Robson Valley to achieve their vision for clean energy and independent power producers.
Where this money would come from wasn’t clear. The premier said it wouldn’t be new money, but money saved by good management.
This just a few weeks after the Liberals announced a government-wide restraint program due to falling natural gas revenues.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the whole speech was just political spin and that BC Hydro’s transmission line into the Valley won’t be fast-tracked at all.
A few years ago, when we had an NDP provincial government, it played fast and loose with promises of a new hospital for Clearwater. The people of the North Thompson eventually tired of the game and helped vote in a Liberal candidate, Kevin Krueger.
One of Krueger’s first acts was to move forward on construction of the new Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital.
Let us hope that the BC Liberals learned from what happened to the New Democrats.