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.

Jobs

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

Castlegar teens rescue man from river

Will Watt and Shay LaFayette helped save a fisherman from the Kootenay River.

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

West Kootenay gleaner’s group gets big funding boost

CBT grant allows project to save more local produce from compost bin

Fruitvale man identified in fatal zipline accident in Thailand

Spencer Donaldson, 25, was from Fruitvale, B.C., the city’s mayor has confirmed

RDCK passes climate change ‘call to arms’

Director says the statement will help guide policy

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Most Read