B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson promised to support two major infrastructure projects in Maple Ridge, a city he said the B.C. NDP has ignored, if his party forms government after Saturday’s election.
Wilkinson, who was in Pitt Meadows campaigning on Monday morning, said a Liberal government would also add mental-health beds to Ridge Meadows Hospital.
“There’s important work to be done here in Maple Ridge,” Wilkinson said. “You just have to look at this growing community and the services it requires, and how it has been completely neglected by NDP for three years.”
The first project Wilkinson was referring to is the extension of Abernethy Way between 232nd and 240th streets, which is the third phase of a four-phase plan to improve and extend the major east-west corridor. The extension is in the planning stage.
He also said the Liberals would help build a secondary bridge crossing over the Alouette River into the growing Silver Valley area at 240th Street. The city has completed a feasibility study on the crossing and it is in the long-range capital plan, but there are no plans to construct the bridge within the next five years.
Wilkinson said the pricetag for both projects is $101 million, which would be shared between three levels of government.
“We support that entirely because it needs to get done in this growing community,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson also mentioned making major improvements to the Lougheed Highway and Harris Road interchange, which will benefit Pitt Meadows, but that is not a new idea. The B.C. NDP government announced in September that initial planning and preliminary engineering work had been completed. It was expected that public input would be sought on the concept this fall.
On the mental health side, Wilkinson said Maple Ridge has been “plagued by mental health issues” and a Liberal government would help get people the help they need by adding beds to the hospital. The number of beds and the cost of such an endeavour were not revealed.
“These are human beings. We’ve got to make sure that they’re getting treatment for mental illness, for brain injury, or the various things that caused them to become homeless in the first place,” Wilkinson said. “That’s our goal, that’s our mission, that’s what we want to do here in Maple Ridge.”
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