Mario Canseco, the vice president of public affairs at Insight West, gave his view of the state of the construction industry at the CanaData West conference in Vancouver on October 27th.
According to a survey conducted by his firm, 77 per cent of people are saying that conditions of their households are good in B.C and they are comfortable.
Top of the list of priorities for public interest construction projects in British Columbia, according to the survey, is transit infrastructure followed by public housing.
Most construction projects should involve mitigating climate change, Canseco said, in both the public and private sector.
"There's that generational gap." – so it's easy for those in younger generations to say they want to mitigate climate change but they are mostly not the ones building it, he added.
B.C. is doing well compared to the rest of the economy, Canseco said, but is also much more diverse than other provincial economies.
Only 30 to 40 per cent of construction people think climate change is the most important factor to address, and when mitigating climate change, the costs will get passed down to the consumer, and people don't understand that dynamic, Canseco said. It would make sense for the federal government to issue broad guidelines, Canseco said, to increase awareness of the factors involved I sustainable construction.
In terms of the United States, it's not whether Trump or Clinton wins, it's ultimately "How do you navigate through the crazy maze of the construction industry when you work in the United States?" regulations change state to state and can apply only to that state, and labour costs are also a factor, he noted.
In terms of nig LNG projects, there is "no real consensus" in British Columbia. The opposition is not as strident as activists would have us believe, he said, and commitments to LNG are not as solid as one would think. "It's somewhere in the middle," Canseco said.
It is also a generational matter, he said, with boomers generally for LNG, Generation X split, and millennials generally against LNG. With millennials, once you realize how the economy operates, you tend to start moving away from radical changes and try to find other ways to mitigate climate change.
Canseco said the B.C. election is in play, and there are two issues in play. There are a core group that greatly dislike the NDP and resent the policies of the NDP government in the 90s. There is another cohort that strongly dislike the premier, and the rest (approximately 30 per cent) who are undecided.
In terms of transit, comfort is a factor, but infrastructure is also important. Commuting would be better, the survey results said, if people could work from home but also if transit to work was easier.
One of the problems with implementation of transit structure in the GVRD, Canseco said, is that Vancouver isn't amalgamated and it is a "red tape issue."