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

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Expect traffic delays at Burnside and Douglas this week for new bus lanes

Prep work runs Tuesday through Thursday while paving takes place Friday

Victoria police searching for missing 18-year-old

Austin Bennett-Frechette is known to frequent the Greater Victoria Public Library

Victoria Cool Aid Society looks to beautify city with art

New mural to be unveiled Tuesday meant to inspire hope

Small homeless camp removed at Horth Hill Regional Park in North Saanich

CRD staff say the camp is not connected to Camp Namegans in Goldstream

UrbaCity raises record-breaking $70,000 for Island Prostate Centre

240 racers, corporate sponsors fill the coffers for the cause

Vancouver Island designated as foreign trade zone

Designation simplifies importing and exporting and provides duty relief

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Most Read