As economic turmoil ripples around the world, there is at least one local industry that continues to thrive.
That was evident as the University of the Fraser Valley provided an update on construction of its new campus at the Canada Education Park Tuesday.
The event brought Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto to the education park for the first time. She was joined by provincial MLAs Barry Penner and John van Dongen, as well as federal MP Mark Strahl.
Both governments have provided more than $7 million to a $40 million project that is expected to open in May. And while that investment has provided jobs at a time when the economy has faltered, it was the long term benefits that were talked about the most Tuesday.
Those dividends are already evident at the trades and technology building which opened a few years back. Demand for training continues to outpace availability. That pressure is expected to continue as the economy recovers and projects like the $8 billion federal ship-building contract recently awarded to B.C. comes on stream.
That positions Chilliwack well for the future. Not only will UFV be providing increased educational opportunities for residents in the eastern Fraser Valley, but the institution itself will remain an important economic driver for the region.
The importance of those opportunities was quietly underlined by Sto:lo elder Terry Prest, who stressed the role education plays in bringing security and prosperity to his people.
There is still much work to be done on UFV’s new campus. But just as visitors are able to see through the construction chaos to the new facility’s elegant lines, its environmental innovations, and its educational potential, they can see the promise that the entire education park holds for Chilliwack.