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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack partners unite to make sure kids don’t go hungry during the pandemic

Food donations to be dropped off Tuesday, April 7, at Salvation Army Church on Brooks Avenue

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

Fabrication work for Vedder Bridge roundabout art project is well underway

Funds of $255K held in reserve from new bridge budget do not represent a new cost for artwork

Chilliwack school trustees using Zoom to conduct meetings during pandemic

Public participation not available, but staff taking public questions before and after meetings

A little snow and hail for Chilliwack but no record broken

It was the second snowiest April day in Chilliwack on record Friday

B.C. First Nations want to launch fight of Trans Mountain pipeline approval

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear five challenges about the pipeline

N95 masks on the way for Canada after 3M reaches deal with White House

The Trump White House had ordered 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Most Read