The B.C. budget for this year includes planning funds for replacing the George Massey Tunnel under the Fraser River.

B.C. budget: Operating debt begins to decline

Operating debt to decline, capital debt keeps growing as hospitals, schools, road and transit projects continue

After five years of borrowing to pay for “groceries,” Finance Minister Mike de Jong says budget surpluses this year and in the coming years will largely be used to pay down operating debt.

The provincial budget shows operating debt of $9.4 billion for the year ending in March, declining to $8.4 billion in 2015-16 and falling below $5 billion by 2018.

Total provincial debt, including roads, hospitals and other capital projects as well as debt held by BC Hydro and other Crown corporations, grows to more than $70 billion by the end of the province’s three-year fiscal plan.

De Jong said balancing the budget means the province is only borrowing to build assets, and the current spending plan calls for $10.7 billion more in taxpayer-supported debt. One new project is planning funds for the proposed replacement of the George Massey tunnel under the Fraser River, a bottleneck for vehicle and shipping traffic.

Other projects:

• Post-secondary facilities include replacement of trade buildings at Okanagan College in Kelowna and Camosun College in Victoria, a trades facility at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt and relocation of Vancouver Community College and BCIT heavy duty and commercial transportation programs in New Westminster

• New high schools including Centennial Secondary in Coquitlam, Oak Bay Secondary in Oak Bay, Wellington Secondary in Nanaimo, Clayton North Secondary in Surrey and Kitsilano Secondary in Vancouver.

• Transportation projects including Evergreen rapid transit line to Coquitlam, improvements to Highway 97 in the Cariboo and the Mountain Highway interchange in North Vancouver

• Health care projects including North Island Hospitals in Comox and Campbell River, Interior Heart and Surgery Centre in Kelowna and clinical support and acute care centres at Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Vancouver

 

Just Posted

Hotel, restaurant and multi-use residential complex proposed for Resort Drive

Parksville could soon see more rental units, some zoned for commercial use

Inside the music

Big Read: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

ECHO Players’ 2018/19 season announced

Qualicum Beach theatre company to show Peter Pan musical, Enchanted April and more

More Qualicum Beach, Nanoose Douglas-fir ecosystem protected from logging

B.C. Gov’t announces 980.5 hectares of protected land added

Qualicum Beach mayor plans to run for re-election

Teunis Westbroek hopes to continue serving needs of Town’s residents as mayor

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

BC Wildfire update on 14 major Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

UPDATED: Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters defy eviction order

Demonstrators at Camp Cloud in Burnaby say they won’t leave, but will meet with city officials

B.C. tent city camper arrested for taking coins from fountain

The man, who built a shelter at a Saanich park, says homeless people are unfairly targeted

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Okanagan wildfires have potential to become firestorms, says UBC expert

David Andison said to let smaller fires go, to create pockets in the landscape for new forests

2017 wildfires give B.C. mom chance to say thank you to officer who saved her son

An unlikely encounter in the rural community of Likely, near Williams Lake

Most Read