For Immediate Release
Dec. 1, 2011
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
Barriere - McBride Corridor selected for economic pilot
VICTORIA – The Province will partner with communities along the Barriere to McBride corridor in one of three regional economic development pilot projects as part of the Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan.
The Regional Economic Investment Pilot is aimed at attracting investment, identifying opportunities, economic diversification and job creation in areas consistent with the BC Jobs Plan. In January, the Barriere to McBride corridor will hold a forum in Valemount, which will be hosted by Pat Bell, the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. The pilot area corridor includes the traditional territory of the Simpcw First Nation, which has several ongoing business relationships with companies in forestry, mining and hydro power production.
At the forum, representatives from local government, business, industry, First Nations and academia will explore investment opportunities and share solutions to overcome barriers. By the end of the forum, an inventory of potential projects and an initial action plan on how best to implement them will have been created. The provincial government will assist the Barriere to McBride corridor by developing an intensified approach to capitalize on those opportunities.
Working with employers and communities to enable job creation is one of the key pillars of the BC Jobs Plan announced by Premier Christy Clark in September. To accelerate growth, the BC Jobs Plan leverages the strengths of B.C.’s most competitive sectors to bring new dollars into the economy from the province’s most important trading partners. Those sectors are: forestry, mining, natural gas, agri-foods, technology, tourism, transportation and international education.
Campbell River and the North Fraser communities of Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Mission have also been selected for the pilot projects. A decision on a fourth community, a First Nation, will be announced soon.
It is expected that economic forums in selected communities will be completed by March 2012. The lessons learned from these pilots will then be applied across the province.
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell –
“We want all regions in British Columbia to be part of our jobs plan. These pilots will help us to focus on specific job-creating projects. This is about working with our community and First Nations partners to create a sustainable economic future. I’m very excited about this project. It could have a profound effect on the prosperity of British Columbia.”
Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond –
“Part of the BC Jobs Plan is finding ways to support communities like these ones in the Robson Valley. It is always difficult for small rural communities to attract the necessary investment that creates badly needed jobs. As the MLA for this area for more than a decade I am pleased that we will be one of three provincial pilots that will work to create an action plan to remove barriers, encourage investment and create jobs. This is an important step to creating a sustainable economic plan for the Robson Valley."
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake –
“North Thompson has a very bright future and this coordinated effort to harness the valley's potential will ensure jobs for families and continued vibrant communities."
McBride Mayor Michael Frazier –
“Our local economy took a terrible hit over the last few years. All along we have been working on diversifying our economy and creating employment. This initiative will give a huge boost to our efforts. We’re looking forward to working with other communities in the region to take advantage of investment opportunities.”
Barriere Mayor-elect Bill Humphreys –
“I am pleased the Province and particularly Minister Pat Bell have chosen Barriere to participate in the Regional Economic Investment Pilot. We look forward to sharing our own efforts and learning from the experience, knowledge and enthusiasm of the other members of the forum. The future is bright when we work together.
To find out more about BC Jobs Plan visit http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/
A backgrounder follows.
Regional Economic Investment Pilot
Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan aims to create long-term jobs and investment across the province by building on key competitive advantages. To achieve this, the provincial government will engage with communities and support them in developing strategies to create lasting economic benefit and boost job creation.
Piloting the approach in a small number of regions allows more focus on key initiatives. It will also enhance government’s understanding of how best to assist and streamline communities’ economic development.
The four selected communities represent the diversity of community needs across the province, and include: Campbell River (medium size city), the Barriere to McBride corridor (small rural communities), North Fraser (small urban area) and a First Nations community.
Pilots were selected using the following considerations:
· Diverse community locations.
· Range of population sizes.
· Diverse economic challenges and opportunities.
· Strong indication of investment-ready projects.
· Demonstrated commitment to planning for the future.
· Strong local leadership.
· Community-level recognition of the value of non-monetary assistance.
· Alignment with key competitive sectors identified in the BC Jobs Plan.
Economic forums with key stakeholders will be held in each of the four pilot regions, concluding by March 2012. Through these sessions economic investment opportunities in each pilot area will be identified.
The province will assist communities by providing expertise, and facilitating community and regional linkages to key partners, stakeholders and programs to advance investment opportunities. No funding will be provided to communities.
Selected projects will be implemented in the following six to 18 months. Once the pilots are complete, additional communities will have the opportunity to partner the government on investment opportunities.
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
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