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MHCA tells CCA outlet channels, investment programs top priorities here

The successful start to the Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin outlet channels project is a top concern of the heavy construction industry, along with seeing robust and new trade transportation program investment in the coming year.

Those items were among the priorities of MHCA Board Chair Nicole Chabot’s report to the Canadian Construction Association this month.

The Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin project awaits federal sign-off and requires further consultation with First Nations who have territorial interest in the area.

“This is a very important project for flood protection in Manitoba,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said. “The 2011 flood drove whole communities of Manitobans out of their homes – some for many years – and cost the province and the federal government more than $1 billion. We cannot afford to delay this project.”

A provincial report found more than 7,100 Manitobans were evacuated at the height of the flood, 650 provincial and municipal roads were damaged, along with 600 bridges.

The MHCA report also noted that economic recovery from the impact of the pandemic shutdown in Manitoba and across the West reveals the imperative of investing in trade-transportation infrastructure, to raise Canada’s global profile and lay the path for significant returns to the GDP for years to come.

The MHCA and Manitoba Business Council are working with local leading business organizations, the Canada West Foundation and western heavy construction associations in an initiative to launch the Western Canadian Trade Gateways and Corridors program. The concept would see significant recapitalization of federal trade infrastructure investment programs, to leverage the advantages that Western Canada holds for increasing or opening trade opportunities, especially overseas.

“The health of our economies, across Canada, are heavily tied to trade productivity and Western Canada has shown it can trade – it contributes 37% of Canada’s exports and nearly 38% of its real GDP, while comprising 32% of its population,” Lorenc noted.

Other priorities detailed in the CCA report include:

  • MHCA thanks the CCA and the Manitoba government for working with a coalition of construction associations to successfully press Saskatchewan to remove trade barriers written into its government tender and construction documents
  • A meeting is to be held soon to discuss with Manitoba Infrastructure industry capacity, as the province looks to increase annual Highways Capital programs
  • The province appears ready to plan for releasing annual and five-year Highways Capital programs, allowing the industry to scale to expected volume of work
  • Discussions with the City of Winnipeg on revised specifications for road base and sub-base materials and construction have proceeded slowly; challenges remain with ensuring recycled concrete aggregates continue to be used in road building
  • MHCA is submitting a position paper encouraging the province to consider policy framework for the recycling of construction and demolition waste