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Shirley Bond and Coralee Oakes will run again as PG area BC United MLAs

BC United party leader Kevin Falcon was in Prince George this morning to announce his “Prince George Central” team of candidates for the next provincial election, which is almost exactly one year away.

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond and PG-Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes will both be seeking re-election.

Bond is looking for her seventh term in Victoria, and if re-elected it would be round four for Oakes.

Both candidates’ ridings have shifted since the last election.

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Oakes’ Cariboo North riding was previously mainly based in Quesnel, but a recent change in borders means she will also be campaigning in Prince George’s College Heights neighbourhood.

This was previously Prince George-Valemount territory.

Map of the adjustments to the boundaries of electoral districts within Prince George. Purple lines indicate the proposed adjustments while grey borders indicate the current borders (Map supplied by the BC Electoral Boundaries commission)

They’ll be joined by Kiel Giddens and Houston Mayor Shane Brienen who are running in the Prince George-Mackenzie and Nechako Lakes ridings.

“Shirley Bond has been fighting for folks in the north for years,” Falcon said. “It is critical for our party that we have these quality and caliber, experienced candidates that are going to help bring forward the policies that are going to actually make a difference in British Columbia.”

“[Coralee] has been an exceptional colleague,” Falcon continued. “A really strong voice and advocate for the Cariboo, and I know you are going to bring that same voice and same passion to the folks in Prince George, now that they are forming part of your electoral district.”

Falcon took the announcement as an opportunity to begin campaigning as well.

“Today, we are announcing the Northern Transportation plan that we will be bringing forward when we form government,” Falcon said.

The plan has five elements that Falcon laid out:

Expand the Cariboo Connector Program:

  • A BC United government will resurrect the Cariboo Connector program, starting with construction of the next two 4-lane projects in the corridor between Cache Creek and Prince George.

Fast track a new Taylor Bridge for the Peace Region:

  • A BC United government will immediately approve, fund, and build a new Taylor Bridge to support public safety and a critical commercial traffic corridor in Northeast B.C.

Enhance Safety and Efficiency on Key Highways:

  • A BC United government will immediately add three passing lanes to each of the following arterial Highways 16, 5, and 97. These are critical corridors for B.C.’s economy and for emergency response access between communities.

Build more Rest Stops as Critical Amenities:

  • A BC United government will build a minimum of two new full amenities rest stops across Northern B.C. for the benefit of local residents.

Focus on Long-Term Infrastructure Safety & Resiliency:

  • A BC United government will not only build, but also ensure proper maintenance and repair of infrastructure for long-lasting safety & reliability. Particular attention will be focused on the infrastructure investments needed to respond to climate change. This includes a comprehensive review of rural roads that require paving and safety improvements, median and guard rail additions, and better brushing to reduce wildlife conflicts.

Following the announcement, the six BC United members sat down with media for a roundtable session.

That discussion will be posted tomorrow (Saturday).

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