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HOPE, B.C. — A political spat may be behind a funding denial that could cost Hope, B.C. residents a highway reconstruction plan.

The Old-Hope Princeton Highway was to receive a facelift, in a joint project between property owners and the municipal and provincial governments. In fact, more than $200,000 has been invested in the project to date.

However, the project has stalled after the NDP MLA Harry Lali stepped down from his post as Highways and Transportation Minister.

“I was told by Lali and two bureaucrats that (the project) was turned down because he had bad mouthed the premier,” says Hope Mayor Gordon Poole.

“There are five projects, that were not approved, that York is trying to get approved. He knows he will have a difficult time getting the Hope vote if he doesn’t get that money back.”

Jack Randle, of the Old-Hope Princeton Revitalization Committee is also angered by the rift.

“It appears any project MLA Lali was involved with was cancelled because of his criticism of the Premier,” says Randle. “This knee jerk response was purely political and did not take into consideration the enormous consequences for our small community.”

“The cancelling of this revitalization project has angered the business owners on this highway…. They have double-crossed us and lied as to their intentions,” said Randle in a press release. “We are distressed by this obvious lack of concern for one of the province’s struggling communities.”

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