investments, and in the Atlantic region there appears to be a lot of upcoming road, highway and bridge work. In Ontario, meanwhile, both aggregate producers and road builders are looking for-ward to a productive year as the population continues to grow, especially in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Norm Cheesman, executive director of the Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA), says population growth in Ontario is expected to drive construction and more demand for aggregate. “The network of transit, roadways, commuter, health, education and government infrastructure to support that growth is awe-inspiring,” he says. As density increases in existing communities outside the GTA and expansion contin-ues northwards, new opportunities for development abound, notes Cheesman, and al-though there are big challenges ahead for the industry, there are also great opportunities. “It’s important to understand that aggregate truly is an essential ingredient to growth in Ontario. Without it, nothing gets built – not hospitals, not schools and not roads.” A challenge facing the industry in Ontario, he says, is the supply of quality, close-to-market aggregate as well as restrictions being placed on new operations, which will ultimately result in a shortage of quality aggregate material close to where it’s needed. “That will mean trucking from a greater distance, more greenhouse gas emissions and a higher cost for everything we build,” Cheesman says. Andrew Hurd, director of policy and stakeholder relations at the Ontario Road Build-ers’ Association (ORBA), says members are optimistic about the year ahead. One mandate of the new B.C. government is to enhance the corridor between B.C. and Alberta. B.C.'S NEW GOVERNMENT In B.C., where there was concern about the future of infrastructure projects as a result of the NDP taking power after 16 years of Liberal rule, there now appears to be optimism. “We’re fairly comfortable going for-ward in 2018,” says Kelly Scott, presi-dent of the B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association. “We’re certainly comfortable that the government of the day understands that investment in infra-structure is an investment in the economy. The roads are critical to us as they are in any province, and we see that continuing. “Time will tell but the arrow is still con-tinuing to point a bit up for us.” Scott says a mandate of the govern-ment is to enhance the corridor between B.C. and Alberta, which is good for both the aggregate and roadbuilding sectors in the province, and he expects to see tenders for the work show up soon. He’s also encouraged that the province has hired a professional engineer to lead an independent technical review of the George Massey Tunnel crossing. “Once they’ve done their review, our sense is that they will need to replace it. It’s just a matter of timing.” Paul Allard, executive director of the B.C. Stone, Sand & Gravel Association JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 | ROCKTOROAD | 13 With oil prices predicted to rise in 2018, the economies in Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to see some modest gains in both the roadbuilding and aggregate sectors. “ORBA members are looking forward to a productive 2018,” he notes, and also wel-comes newly enacted legislation which has strong prompt-payment and adjudication provisions – issues the road building industry wanted because it provides clarity to operations. With provincial and municipal elections on the horizon, Hurd says ORBA will be working to ensure that parties and candidates make transportation infrastructure issues a priority. “It’s increasingly important to ensure all three levels of government are working to-gether with industry to understand the needs of the present and challenges of the future, particularly with respect to a pronounced municipal infrastructure deficit in Ontario,” he says.