Spending spree signals by-elections

By-elections in Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam follow a blitz of community recreation grants in the regions.

Chilliwack MLA John Les

Chilliwack MLA John Les

By-elections called Thursday in Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam follow a blitz of community recreation grants in the regions.

Premier Christy Clark confirmed Thursday that the by-elections will be held April 19.

Chilliwack MLA John Les has handed out $1.8 million in projects in his vacant neighbouring constituency in recent days. They include $250,000 for a sports field in Chilliwack, $37,575 to upgrade Hope Community Recreation Park, $400,000 for a recur centre in Harrison Hot Springs, $750,000 for a gym expansion in Agassiz, $336,800 to upgrade the pool and rec centre in Boston Bar, and $114,567 to expand a wetland trail in Popkum.

Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA Doug Horne has been busy in his vacant neighbouring seat. On Monday he handed out $681,332 to expand a lacrosse box and other facilities in Port Moody and $104,848 for an outdoor fitness and recreation park in Anmore.

Asked about the timing, Les told the Chilliwack Progress his flurry of announcements was simply because a $30 million community education program announced last fall by Premier Christy Clark is ready to go.

“Just because there’s a byelection on the horizon doesn’t mean that (communities in the riding) are cut off from funding,” Les said.

A total of 93 projects were approved for funding under the program, which called for local governments to submit applications and put up matching funds.

B.C. Liberal MLA Iain Black resigned the Port Moody-Coquitlam seat last fall to take a job with the Vancouver Board of Trade. Former attorney general Barry Penner resigned in January to take a job with a Vancouver law firm.

Surrey North Delta Leader