If they are elected, the BC NDP plans on investing in communities.
That’s the message Tarik Sayeed, NDP candidate for the Penticton riding, was sending when he announced plans for a Community Partnership Fund worth $30 million over three years to upgrade and build community spaces like sports facilities, playgrounds, arts and culture spaces, community youth centres and mental health and addictions centres.
“I’m excited to get to work building a better B.C.,” said Sayeed. “The B.C. NDP will be an active and willing partner with the federal government and municipalities.”
This investment in communities is part of the B.C. NDP’s $10 billion capital infrastructure plan that will create 96,000 jobs over five years.
Sayeed said that the Penticton area is in need of facilities for youth, and there are many projects that could benefit through the Community Partnership Fund.
“It is a situation that has been neglected for a while. So we’re happy that there is a chance to have hope,” said Sayeed, who hopes to defeat Liberal MLA Dan Ashton on May 9.
Sayeed admitted this plan only comes into play if the B.C. NDP are elected in place of the Liberals, but said it isn’t just a campaign promise.
“By announcing it, we are making a commitment. That’s the key difference,” said Sayeed. “I have seen it firsthand. People are struggling. I have youth members helping me in the campaign and I see it also on a daily basis. Which is why we need to take care of everyone not just the top two per cent.
Sayeed said the Community Partnership Fund local communities will have a chance to take advantage of building much needed projects and improving services for youth.
For his part, Ashton said the Liberals have a good track record on helping with community infrastructure, using Penticton’s community pool as an example of government investment.
“I think the current government has done an awful lot for communities,” said Ashton. “There is a $100,000 in Summerland for a solar study. Another one was for $460,000 in Summerland for growth and safety planning.”
The money is there, according to Ashton, who said the Liberals have had similar programs for years, and that there was $165 million pledged in the last budget for community building.
Green party candidate Connie Sahlmark could not be reached for comment.