MP Wilks to make case for federal highway rescue truck funding

Kootenay–Columbia MP says argument for federal money for Revelstoke Highway Rescue truck hinges on service to Parks Canada highways

In November

Kootenay–Columbia MP David Wilks is visiting Revelstoke on Jan. 22, where he will discuss the issue of the damaged Revelstoke Highway Rescue truck with stakeholders, in addition to providing an update on his lobby for Trans-Canada Highway improvements.

Revelstoke’s highway rescue truck was severely damaged in a crash on Dec. 20, and city officials are looking to other levels of government for help replacing the expensive vehicle.

They argue it’s used extensively on provincial and federal highways, so those governments should help pay for the capital cost of the truck.  Provincial authorities have argued it’s not their responsibility to purchase a new truck.

When asked by the Times Review, Wilks wasn’t able to commit to funding, but his message will likely be welcomed by local groups lobbying for help replacing the truck.

“On Wednesday, I’ll go talk to Mayor [David] Raven and I will go see if there is something that maybe, potentially available for this type of scenario,” Wilks told the Times Review. “Seeing that this riding is unique to Canada because of the the three national parks that we have going through it … I think there may be a case for me to argue, that from time to time, there needs to be some funding available for the capital cost.”

Wilks said any federal solution would likely take the form of a capital contribution, but not operational funding. The MP said if federal departments  – Parks Canada for example – were to be involved in operating a rescue truck, they’d likely want jurisdiction over how it’s deployed. Operating a rescue vehicle with several layers of jurisdiction becomes “really problematic” and wouldn’t work, Wilks said.

He preferred to look for a one-time contribution. “I think that’s what I can do. I can go to maybe the Minister of Public Safety, or the Minister of Environment who oversees the three national parks, and say … a municipal and provincial vehicle is being used within the national parks for vehicle recovery and for motor vehicle accidents involving serious injury.”

The highway rescue truck is one of several topics Wilks with discuss at a noon-hour presentation to the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 22.

Wilks has lobbied with local and provincial government politicians for improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway, including submitting a PowerPoint presentation to the prime minister, and ministers for state, finance, transportation and the environment (the latter oversees Parks Canada).

He’s calling for a long-term plan that will cost in the range of $1–$1.5 billion.

“I said listen, this has to get done, because every year we bury our head in the sand, it costs us more,” Wilks said. “It’s not going to be cheap.”

“Let’s look at a 25- to 30-year plan, let’s be realistic about it, and let’s start it and let’s spread it out over 30 years with the ultimate goal of it being completed within 30 years. What that does from a capital perspective and an operational perspective is it spreads the money out over a long period of time.”

Wilks said this initiative differs from past Trans-Canada Highway initiatives because it focuses solely on the federal section of the highway through Parks Canada, and isn’t as dependent on provincial funding partnerships.

He said a long-term funding plan would provide a legacy that could outlast the government of the day.

Wilks will also present on the federal government’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations. The proposed bilateral free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union is under negotiation. Opponents of the proposed deal deride the plan as a corporate power grab masquerading as a free trade deal. They say it was negotiated in secret and will jack up the price of prescription drugs, pressure privatization of local water systems, transit and energy, and restrict how local governments spend money.

Wilks will make the case for the deal.

 

Just Posted

Revelstoke resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

New auxilory conservation officer in Revelstoke area – for now

Zeb Martin has primarliy been hired for monitoring caribou closures

Revelstoke Rod and Gun club supports fishing proposal with conditions

The proposal considers reopening Revelstoke Reach of the Columbia Reach to angling

Jocelyn’s Jottings: A postive take on resolutions

In the last column I wrote I looked back on 2018. This… Continue reading

Growls and Hugs for Jan. 16

Someone or something got your hackles up? Or maybe someone made you… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Russian fighter jets collide over Sea of Japan crews eject

One plane crashed after its crew ejected safely, the other crew also ejected but they have not been found

Judge to deliver verdict in British sailor’s gang rape case

The alleged gang rape took place at a Halifax-area military base in 2015

B.C. minister fears money laundering involves billions of dollars, cites reports

The government had estimated that it was a $200-million a year operation, instead estimates now peg the problem at $1 billion annually

Heavy snowfall expected on the Coquihalla

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Windmills returns to the stage for what could be the last time

The musician took a break from music for a year to recover from his last EP

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Most Read