The NDP have criticized the Liberal government's handling of the Wood Innovation and Design Centre but have no plans to cancel the project if they're elected in May.
Prince George-Mackenzie NDP candidate Bobby Deepak said his party will continue all projects which are underway at the time of the election by treating them as government commitments rather than promises made by one party or another.
The $25 million project has been beset by delays over the years and made headlines again this week when two local businessmen said they were misled by Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Minister Pat Bell in a land deal surrounding the development.
"Building the centre is a good idea but it's a shame this process has been tainted and botched by the B.C. Liberals," Deepak said.
Bell said this week that a contract for the $25 million project in downtown Prince George will be awards in the coming weeks and construction should start in a couple of months. If that happens, Deepak said an NDP government would continue with the project as scheduled. However if for some reason a contract isn't awarded and work isn't underway by the election, he said the NDP would have a closer look to see what stage things are at.
"If that is the case we would like to build it because it's still a good idea but the Liberals have made a real mess of it," Deepak said. "It's an important project that should be built. But if the Liberals don't deliver on the promise we'll have to find out if the Liberals have done any work on it or if it's just smoke and mirrors."
Businessmen Dan McLaren and Brian Fehr claim they were promised by Bell to be part of the short list of companies selected for the project, but didn't make the cut when the finalists were announced last fall. Bell said he never made any promises and that the bidding process was handled by civil servants.
"I think the allegations raise some troubling questions about the way the B.C. Liberals have handled the whole project and the people of Prince George deserve some answers from the B.C. Liberals," Deepak said.