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

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to Victoria goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

$136M in transit funding coming to B.C.

The announcement was made at the BC Transit yard in Langford on Friday morning

‘Good Samaritan’ honoured for saving man from capsized canoe

BC Ambulance Service said Rob Clifford’s actions saved man’s life in December 2017 incident

Canada has enough pipelines to get the moon

Pipelines totalling 840,000 kilometres run across Canada

Early morning crash on Royal Oak overpass

Emergency crews remain on scene and traffic expected to be affected

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

B.C. to fund gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people

Roughly 100 people in B.C. travel each year out of province for lower surgeries

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Have BC Ferry waits ever forced you to cancel your travel plans?

Many BC Ferry passengers heading out from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on… Continue reading

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

UK’s May appeals to public on Brexit, braces for more blows

British Prime Minister Theresa May answered questions from callers on a radio phone-in, the day after she vowed to stay in office

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Two B.C. police officers, held in Cuba for months, cleared of sex assault allegations

Port Moody Const. Jordan Long and Vancouver Const. Mark Simms have been in Cuba since March

Most Read