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

Maple Ridge residents clean up fire pit

Spend the weekend hauling out trash from Cottonwood area

Train horns falling silent in Maple Ridge

30-day transition period underway

Maple Ridge actress in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Melissa Harris part of Bard in the Valley cast.

Square dancers celebrate another July 1 with community

Town ‘n’ Country Dancers hold 33rd annual Canada Day event

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbot’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Most Read