Local economic forums set to start

The first local test of the B.C. government's jobs plan begins Thursday in the North Fraser region.


The first local test of the B.C. government’s jobs plan begins Thursday in the North Fraser region, with community leaders from Mission, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows gathering to identify the projects most likely to generate employment quickly.

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell is convening the first pilot project for what he calls the “Mackenzie model,” referring to the turnaround of the community north of Prince George that was hit hard by the forest industry downturn.

“What we did in Mackenzie was have everyone in the room, local economic development officers, key ministry individuals, the chamber of commerce, union leaders, First Nations, everyone was there,” Bell said in an interview. “We identified what the key initiatives were that could have a positive economic impact on the community and who would take responsibility for each element of it.”

Two other regions have been chosen for pilot projects to begin in January, Campbell River and the Barriere-to-McBride corridor on Highway 5 north of Kamloops. The three areas represent the range of small to medium to larger urban centres as well as Coastal, Vancouver Island and Interior regions.

They were chosen not only for their locations but because they showed they have done groundwork to prepare them, Bell said. For example, the Barriere region has identified independent power projects, a ski development and agri-tourism projects that locals believe could be advanced immediately.

“I think we need to demonstrate success quickly,” Bell said. “We need to show people that when you collaborate, when you work together, when you use this new kind of format of economic development, that it can achieve results in short order.”

He noted that the areas represent a mix of NDP and B.C. Liberal political representation, and their selection was due to their readiness to begin rather than their political leanings.

The first meeting will identify a core group of people to lead the effort, and the selection of a list of proposed projects for further study. By the end of January, the North Fraser group should have a short list of projects to focus on.

Just Posted

Haisla girls basketball team competed in first game at 2018 Junior All-Native basketball tournament

Haisla girls played against Syilx at Van Tech Secondary in Vancouver

Kitimat could get bicycle lanes in the future

This project will allow for cyclists no different than any other sidewalk in the community.

Diver airlifted following accident at navy shipwreck

The diver was kept in the chamber while the barge was towed to Hartley Bay

Australian company Woodside ends Grassy Point LNG project

Woodside and Chevron still committed to Kitimat LNG

Mayor anticipating Hwy37 improvements

Transportation ministry working on details

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Alberta budget plans for Trans Mountain expansion

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says expected revenues will be factored into budget forecasts

Proposed gun bill attacked by gun owners and shooting victims

The federal government tabled the bill today in order to tighten the sale and tracking of firearms

New anti-radicalization centre in the works for B.C.

Centre aims to help ‘vulnerable individuals of the path to radicalization’ before they turn to crime

B.C. bravery, public service honoured by Governor General Julie Payette

UVic basketball coach Kathryn Shields inducted into Order of Canada

Sea lion with rope wrapped around neck saved by Vancouver Aquarium

Steller sea lions are a species of special concern and some populations are endangered in parts of Alaska

B.C. can learn from Washington’s wine industry growth

Winery owner cites importance of industry collaboration

Most Read