B.C. Legislature reopened to the public on Friday morning. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C. Legislature reopened to the public on Friday morning. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C. finance committee report highlights public priorities for Budget 2024

Elected provincial officials have a snapshot of voter priorities, following a tour through the province earlier this spring to gather feedback for next spring’s budget.

The Select Standing on Finance and Government Services toured 11 communities, including in the East Kootenay, and heard hundreds of presentations covering a wide range of provincial budgetary responsibilities. Presentations were also made through video conferencing, while hundreds of written submissions were also made.

Based on the feedback, the committee compiled a report that contains 166 recommendations for the upcoming budget.

“The Committee is grateful to everyone who took the time to share their views, including many individual British Columbians who had the courage to share their personal experiences,” said Committee Chair Mike Starchuk. “We heard clearly that additional investments and actions are needed to address climate change, housing supply, access to health care, including mental health and addictions, and affordability.”

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka serves as deputy chair of the committee.

“British Columbians also highlighted the energy transition, labour shortages, the regulatory environment, and challenges faced by international students,” added Shypitka. “Members greatly valued being able to hear directly from British Columbians about these issues and ways we can move the province forward.”

During the committee’s stop in Cranbrook, representatives from a number of organizations made presentations, including the Regional District of East Kootenay, the College of the Rockies, School District 5, the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District, the Key City Theatre and others.

Specific topics raised included capital investments in rural schools, provincial action on plans to expand the F.W. Green Home in Cranbrook, increased need for emergency management due to floods and wildfires.