Infrastructure in Delta was one of the key issues brought to Delta-Richmond East MP Kerry Lynn-Findlay's attention at a pre-budget consultation meeting last Thursday.
Members of the Delta Chamber of Commerce board met with the Conservative MP at her Ladner constituency office to go over an array of issues and ideas they'd like to see brought back to Ottawa as the federal government prepares its next budget.
Findlay, who met members of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce earlier in the day, said there are ongoing concerns about infrastructure in South Delta, which are not new but important from a national perspective nonetheless.
The first-term MP noted container terminal expansion at Roberts Bank was also discussed, including its impact on the community and possible mitigation, which brought the conversation back to infrastructure.
"We talked about the port and the fact that it does impact the community and what are some of the mitigating steps that can be taken in terms of infrastructure movement of goods and people to make the impact less on those who live here," Findlay said.
She said Fraser River management was another issue raised.
"I'm pleased I was able to facilitate the dredging announcement. That was a big and ongoing issue and it needed someone to bring together all these various elements to make it happen. It wasn't a new issue, but I saw it as my job to create a new urgency around that and facilitate all these different levels of government getting together."
Findlay noted both chambers expressed similar concerns about the aging population and the effect that will have on the availability of skilled workers.
"They have concerns about training programs in Canada, which, of course, is largely a provincial jurisdiction, but we are also involved. We were talking about training both young people coming into the market, but also mid-career training and encouraging people to stay in the workforce longer if they have the ability and energy, and how that all relates to temporary foreign worker programs. We want to give Canadians the first shot at good jobs," said Findlay.
Peter Podovinikoff said continuing problems with infrastructure was a key issue chamber members wanted to stress, as well as transportation and job skills training.
Noting there's no doubt Deltaport is a key component as far as Canadian trade and the economy are concerned, Peter Roaf and Orv Nickel said many of the issues are interconnected, so focus is needed on several fronts.
As far as infrastructure, the Conservative government is reportedly considering a long-term plan in the next budget, with a price tag that could run into the billions. Such a plan could have major ramifications when it comes to South Delta, home to Deltaport container terminal.
Last year the province announced its own Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy 2012-2020, a series of measures to improve the supply chain on the West Coast, ones that could also result in changes to South Delta's landscape.
Findlay, who was scheduled to make a presentation at the Ladner Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday, will head back to Ottawa later this month.
The 2013 federal budget will be presented in April.