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

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Festival of Trees returns to West Kelowna’s Mission Hill Winery

The fundraiser for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation will run Nov. 23 to Jan. 4

Proportional representation vote continues to draw low numbers

Only 6.5 per cent of eligible voters have cast ballots so far in B.C. referendum

Kelowna Skating Club skaters take home 10 medals and three provincial titles

Ava Sanderson was among the winners of the 2019 B.C and Yukon Sectional Championships

Kelowna to host World Junior pre-tournament game

Team Russia will take on Team Sweden at Prospera Place on Dec. 18

Your weekday weather update

Flurries and more rain anticipated for the Okanagan - Shuswap

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Okanagan pickleball pair win bronze at nationals

Vernon and Kelowna players reach podium in California

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Couple allegedly caught staking out Okanagan home

The man and woman were seen in a black Suzuki Tracker with a white back

Most Read