Clark visits but no byelection date yet
B.C. Premier Christy Clark yesterday returned to her old stomping grounds of Port Moody, a territory shaping up to be a political hotbed as a provincial byelection nears for the riding.
On Thursday, Clark and Dennis Marsden — a past president of the Tri-Cities’ Chamber of Commerce and the only BC Liberal candidate to file nomination papers to date — had a private tour of the Current Corporation, a high-tech company on Murray Street that designs and builds night navigator cameras; it also plans to bid on contracts when the $8-billion Seaspan vessels are constructed in B.C.
Clark’s visit comes four days after NDP leader Adrian Dix joined the riding’s acclaimed NDP candidate, former mayor Joe Trasolini, to press the BC Liberal government for a new Murray-Clarke connector in PoMo, a transportation link that has been promised by TransLink for years but is now off its books.
Clark, a former Port Moody MLA, was in the riding only two weeks ago to announce changes to arts funding while, the following week, Dix helped to open Trasolini’s campaign office.
The leaders’ increasing duel for media attention is also being played out in the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, where the resignation of BC Liberal MLA Barry Penner has prompted a byelection this spring, too; in Port Moody-Coquitlam, former BC Liberal MLA Iain Black quit Oct. 1 to take the CEO job at the Vancouver Board of Trade. The riding’s BC Liberals will officially name their candidate Feb. 17.
While Clark was mum about when she’ll set a date for the local byelection, she addressed Trasolini’s call for the provincial government to step up with Murray-Clarke.
“It’s up to TransLink,” she said. “TransLink has been talking about this and thinking about it for years. They need to make it a priority. I know [Mayor] Mike Clay is very collaborative and he’ll be very good at representing Port Moody’s needs so I think after a decade of just talking about it, Mike Clay might be the guy who might make this happen at TransLink.”
As for Riverview Hospital closing and Coquitlam city council’s lobbying to get all or some of Royal Columbian Hospital’s facilities at that site, Clark said studies are underway.
“When I was the MLA for this community, I supported preserving the heritage value and the environmental assets on the Riverview lands,” she said. “I do think it has historically served us really well for a centre of care.”
On the topic of job creation, Clark said the Current Corporation may be able to provide the night technology that Seaspan could use on the new non-combat ships.
Currently, the innovative company supports 25 businesses with skilled-trade employees in the Tri-Cities. “If they can be part of winning the bid on the Seaspan boats, they’re going to be making an even bigger contribution to the Tri-Cities,” she said.