B.C. Premier David Eby speaks during a news conference in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, June 22, 2023. Infrastructure is taking centre stage as Canada's western premiers meet in Whistler today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Infrastructure at centre of Western Canada premiers’ meeting in Whistler, B.C.

The high cost of replacing infrastructure and upgrading it to withstand damage from climate-related disasters will be a key topic of discussion as western premiers meet today in Whistler, B.C.

Host Premier David Eby says he and his counterparts from western provinces and territories agree on calling on the federal government to boost infrastructure funding, given the increased stresses on transportation grids across Western Canada.

Eby says recent disasters in B.C., such as the heat dome in June 2021 and the series of atmospheric rivers that November, show the need for new infrastructure to be more resistant to the effects of climate change.

Without the necessary upgrades, Eby says Western Canadian communities will continue to see strains and slowdowns, not only in the main transportation thoroughfares, but also in economic and trade activities that depend on those routes.

The premiers are also expected to discuss issues such as public safety and the climate challenge all provinces and territories face and how to work together to drive down carbon pollution.

Premiers expected at the event including Danielle Smith of Alberta, Scott Moe of Saskatchewan, Heather Stefanson of Manitoba, Ranj Pillai of Yukon, P.J. Akeeagok of Nunavut and Caroline Cochrane of the Northwest Territories.