B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)

South Surrey, White Rock MLAs call Tuesday’s provincial budget ‘disappointing’

MLAs Stephanie Cadieux and Trevor Halford say residents are getting less for more

Semiahmoo Peninsula MLAs are expressing disappointment in the recently tabled provincial budget, saying that although spending has gone up, little is on the way to the White Rock and South Surrey area.

“Spending is going up at record rates, but it’s not coming here,” said Surrey South BC Liberal MLA Stephanie Cadieux.

Part of the disappointment, Cadieux said, stems from the fact BC Liberals were expecting to see a plan for economic recovery, which she said Tuesday’s budget has not delivered.

“This budget has completely abandoned the NDPs commitments to Surrey,” she said. “They’ve abandoned their commitment to eliminate portables. They didn’t meet that commitment and now they have eliminated it. It doesn’t appear anywhere in the document.”

Cadieux said the budget also falls short on funding for the Surrey SkyTrain to Langley, funding for a medical school in Surrey, and funding for a new Surrey hospital in Cloverdale.

RELATED: Provincial budget watchers lament no mention of Surrey SkyTrain expansion

“They don’t have money in the budget, except notionally, for the Surrey hospital that they’ve promised. They planned a completion for two different dates, which goes to show you how much planning has actually gone into it,” Cadieux said.

According to the budget, $1.66 billion has been earmarked for a second hospital in Surrey with a targeted completion date of 2028. The budget also says the hospital will open in 2027.

“Construction is planned to begin in summer 2023 and the new facility is planned to open for patients in summer 2027. The capital cost of the project is estimated at $1.66 billion and is fully funded by the Province,” the budget said.

Surrey-White Rock BC Liberal MLA Trevor Halford shared Cadieux’s disappointment, adding that British Columbians are getting “less for more.”

Prior to the budget, Halford, who is the BC Liberal opposition critic for mental health and addictions, had made calls for the government to allocate more resources to addiction and mental health services.

The NDP budget has earmarked a half-billion dollars to focus on mental health and addiction services over the next three years.

“One of the things that I really called for, and will continue to call for, is affordable access to counselling and psychiatric services,” Halford said. “None of that was addressed in the budget.”

“I know this government likes to pat itself on the back in terms of the investment, but don’t forget that investment is over three years. And this year is actually one of the lowest-funded years, which is pretty disappointing.”

RELATED: B.C. pledges $7.6B in transportation cash over 3 years; no specifics for Massey Tunnel

B.C.’s current COVID-19-driven deficit is coming in at $8.1 billion, not the $13.6 billion that was projected, but the province has much more borrowing ahead to recover from the pandemic.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson laid out the NDP government’s three-year budget April 20, calling for a further $19 billion in borrowing to build up the health care system and carry on support programs for individuals and businesses. Income and property purchase taxes have pushed provincial revenues higher than forecast.

“The swift development of effective vaccines, together with stronger-than-expected economic activity in 2020 has improved the outlook,” Robinson told reporters in a virtual budget presentation from Victoria.

Overall spending is increased by $8.7 billion over the three years of the budget, including “permanent funding increases” for health care, education, justice and public safety services and opioid and substance abuse prevention. Deficits are forecast to be $9.7 billion in the fiscal year just beginning, declining to $5.5 billion in 2022-23 and $4.3 billion in 2023-24.

The province is allocating $7.6 billion over three years towards transportation and infrastructure, but the province is not committing to a dollar figure for the George Massey Tunnel replacement.

The money is part of an overall $26.4 billion total capital investment that included infrastructure, schools and housing, among others. The transportation funding is split up into $6 billion of direct provincial money and $1.6 billion leveraged through federal and private partnerships. It will help pay for highway rehabilitation and upgrades, the George Massey Tunnel replacement and completing the planning for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project.

Spending commitments also include another $100 million to continue B.C. Recovery Benefit payments of up to $1,000 per family and $500 for individuals, announced before last fall’s election. The program has paid out $1.2 billion without requirement to show pandemic income loss, and remains open for applications until June 30.

– with files from Tom Fletcher



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

2021 B.C. BudgetSurreyWhite Rock

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

Just Posted

Surrey Eagles forward Rocco La Cara battles with Coquitlam Express forward Dante Berrettoni during a game earlier this season. (Damon James photo)
Surrey Eagles wrap up BCHL ‘pod’ season with win over Coquitlam

South Surrey-based junior ‘A’ hockey team finishes with 17-2-1 record

A grave marker at the old pet cemetery in Newton, from video posted to the Youtube channel Exit Thru the Gift Shop.
SURREY NOW & THEN: Newton’s abandoned pet cemetery now surrounded by houses

VIDEO: Former B.C. Pet Cemetery might also be a burial site for human remains

Surrey RCMP detachment in Newton. (File photo)
Surrey RCMP say cryptocurrency fraud on the rise

They’ve received 59 reports of cryptocurrency fraud totaling $612,748 since January

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating serious collision in Surrey

Incident happend May 6 at King George Boulevard and 128th Street

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

Most Read