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Conservative budget draws mixed reviews in British Columbia

Vancouver is hoping to transform Tuesday’s federal budget into $120 million in storm-water, sewage and bridge upgrades.

Vancouver is hoping to transform Tuesday’s federal budget into $120 million in storm-water, sewage and bridge upgrades.

The city hopes to get matching federal and provincial funding for $60 million-to-70 million in sewer and storm-water upgrades and $50 million for upgrading the Burrard and Granville bridges.

Mayor Gregor Robertson, however, said he was disappointed by the amount allotted for transit and for constructing new social housing.

“What we really needed in Vancouver is to create new housing,” Robertson said. “Investment in new social housing to address our homeless challenge. There aren’t new dollars for that, which is a disappointment.”

Provincial NDP Leader Carole James said she was glad to see mention of the Evergreen Line as well as funding for seniors and First Nations housing.

Her biggest concern was extending the employment insurance benefits for unemployed workers by five weeks for a total of 50 weeks. James said it should be increased by another year.

“Frankly, it’s a slap in the face to workers and their families today … we’re not going to see the economy turn around in five weeks.”

In a conference call, B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen gave the budget a “thumbs up,” specifically with regards to housing and infrastructure, which he said would be a benefit to forest communities.

The Evergreen Line to the Tri-Cities was mentioned in the budget as a priority project, a repeat of an announcement made two years earlier.

Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini said he was looking for more than a “repeat of a promise rolled out in 2007.”

“I was looking for an approved item, a line item that said Evergreen Line: approved, $400 million – end of story. I did not get that.”

 
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