The Pattullo Bridge between New Westminster and Surrey is due for replacement. (Black Press files)

B.C. government releases public construction terms

Elaborate provisions expected to add costs of Pattullo bridge

The B.C. government has released its master union agreement for the Pattullo Bridge replacement project, with an estimate that the lengthy provisions will add between four and seven per cent to the project cost.

The 336-page deal with a group of 19 international unions is a template for all major public construction under the B.C. NDP government includes strict provisions for local hiring, an average of 25 per cent apprentices on each job, and annual two per cent raises on specified wages by trade.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena called the pay increases an “industry standard,” and said she’s confident the Pattullo replacement can be done within the existing $1.377 billion budget. The government has also set up a new Crown corporation called B.C. Infrastructure Benefits Inc. to manage large road, bridge and other government projects.

“We believe the benefits we’re going to see in British Columbia outweigh any potential increase in costs,” Trevena said in an interview Thursday. “We have a desperate need for a skilled workforce, and this will help create that skilled workforce.”

RELATED: Horgan vows union public construction

Along with rules for hiring of Indigenous people and other “equity seeking groups, one provision is for workers to come from 100 km of the project site. B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said that’s too restrictive.

“They’re picking winners and losers about the Pattullo Bridge construction, and the winners are their union friends who live nearby in NDP-controlled districts,” Wilkinson said. “And the losers are all of the rest of British Columbians who have to pay for this project.”

The Pattullo was the choice of Premier John Horgan as the next priority for Lower Mainland infrastructure after forming a minority government and cancelling work on a high-level replacement for the Massey tunnel. Horgan announced in March that B.C. would be returning to “project labour agreements” that restrict labour to union rates and membership after 30 days on the job.

The Pattullo, connecting North Surrey and New Westminster, is an aging four-lane bridge to be replaced by a four-lane bridge with bike lanes. Trevena said the bike lanes could be used to expand the crossing to six lanes if that is needed in the future.

Just Posted

Slocan Valley to be ‘lit up’ with high-speed internet in 12 months

125 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to be laid from Nakusp to Playmor Junction

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Kim Johnson retires from rec department

Johnson had worked at Grand Forks Recreation Department for 25 years

COLUMN: 2018 second-largest on record for food bank

Boundary Community Food Bank added 109 new clients last year

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read