Mayor Meets with P.M.
MP Todd Doherty, Mayor Lyn Hall, City Manager Kathleen Soltis meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – photo courtesy City of P.G.
Prince George, B.C.- Mayor of Prince George, Lyn Hall is back from Ottawa, a trip that included an impromptu meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau.
“His first question to me was, ‘what are the things in your community you’re looking at having to do?’ and I talked immediately about infrastructure, both below and above ground infrastructure needs we have in the community.”
Hall says they then talked generally about Prince George. Although there have been no commitments from the Federal Government, Hall says the trip was valuable “It was absolutely valuable to the City, we were able to meet non-stop Monday and Tuesday with MPs we had an opportunity to meet with Parliamentary Secretaries.” One meeting that didn’t happen was a planned session with Veterans Affairs “We were to meet the Minister of Veterans Affairs, but unfortunately he was kept in the House at the time our meeting was scheduled, but we had a great meeting with the Parliamentary Secretary to talk about the reopening of the Veterans Affairs office here in Prince George.”
No time line for that office re-opening has been set, as Hall says all the details will be delivered when the Federal Budget is unveiled.
“We just need to have a presence there, they ( the Federal Government) need to know what Prince George is all about, they need to know what our needs are, and we just need to make sure that they are aware of what’s going on here.” Hall says while the local MPs carry that representation, it’s important the City gives those MPs support ” Hall heaped praise on MP Todd Doherty for landing that meeting with PM Trudeau.
When it comes to infrastructure, Hall says the issues are water, sewer , storm , but there are needs for upgrades to civic facilities, buildings and equipment “That’s where we are trying to get some clarification. We also talked about the Performing Arts Centre and if that would fall within infrastructure, and it will probably fall within the social infrastructure category, but again, we wait to see what kind of funding announcement there will be ( in the Federal Budget) .”
Hall says the message to the City was clear, “We have to be proactive in identifying our priorities, align them to the priorities of government, and then be persistent in making our case.”
Of course, whatever funding may be available, Hall says the cost sharing formula has yet to be defined.
He has come home to Prince George with an idea of bringing together some of the major stakeholders in the community, including those in education, the Lheidli T’enneh and the Airport, and heading back to Ottawa in the fall to build on P.G.’s presence .”Our focus needs to be on Ottawa, our focus needs to be on Victoria” says Hall “There’s nothing better than to be able to support our MPs and our MLAs with our presence in Victoria and Ottawa. The four of them are doing a great job and we need to support their efforts. The presence, the face to face presence of Mayor and representation from across the City is really important and that’s what really hits home as well.”
Although the prime Minister has already been sent an invitation to attend the Bioenergy conference in Prince George in June, Mayor Hall says he extended a personal invitation to the Prime Minister during their brief meeting.
All in all, Hall says the trip was successful “It was a very productive trip; far beyond my expectations.”