Twenty-three people have gained valuable skills and contributed to their community by working on a project that brings the past to the present.
In restoring the North Pacific Cannery Site, the team members have earned apprenticeship hours in carpentry and construction craft work, to be better positioned in the workforce.
Over the course of the government-funded project, which wraps up this month, participants have gained experience in carpentry, marine construction and heavy construction. They have helped complete docks, make structural repairs to buildings, build benches and more.
“This project has done something extraordinary. It prepared people for a bright future, while focusing on B.C.’s rich past,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Cannery jobs have been lost in the area, so projects like this help British Columbians find new opportunities and keep people in their communities.”
The North Pacific Cannery, a National Historic Site, was the longest-running cannery in British Columbia history and has been part of the Port Edward landscape since the late 1800s. The site, which is open to tourists annually from May 1 to Oct. 1, has 29 historic buildings connected by raised wooden boardwalks.
The historic site is a piece of local history for locals to enjoy and is also a draw for visitors to the area, due to its historic designation.
“As the North Coast continues to diversify its economy, to remain viable and strong, we need to be sure that our citizens are trained and have construction work experience,” said Jennifer Rice, North Coast MLA, who attended a wrap-up and hiring event at the historic site. “It’s through projects like the restoration of the North Pacific Cannery that people of the North Coast have received valuable skills, apprenticeship hours and the confidence to face a diversified economic future.”
The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction provided $237,000 in funding for this project through the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP supports communities, stakeholders and employers with job creation, economic growth, positive social impacts, increased employment opportunities and outcomes for unemployed British Columbians.
Steve Milum, conservation manager, North Pacific Cannery –
“This Job Creation Partnership with the Province of B.C. has resulted in a team of apprentice carpenters and construction craft workers whose efforts have preserved our important local, regional and national heritage. The project has been rewarding for all partners, participants and the local community through job creation, skills building, local investment in tourism infrastructure and heritage preservation. I couldn’t be prouder of the results!”
Allen Lewis, participant –
“I am of Tsimshian Nation, Gitxaala Island – one of the oldest villages in B.C. I started the JCP program in July 2017, and it has helped me along my journey as an apprentice in the construction field. The instructors of the program have shared their wealth of knowledge with willingness and expertise, and we have benefited from it, gaining a good foundation in the trades. Seeing the working dock repaired, and waiting to see it used and enjoyed by the public, will be the most rewarding. I am honoured to give back to the District of Port Edward, B.C., Canada, and tourists from around the world in this way.”
- Since 2012, the Community and Employer Partnerships program has helped over 1,675 job seekers benefit from work experience and has funded more than 300 projects throughout the province.
- North Pacific Cannery is one of Prince Rupert’s key tourism destinations. It was built in 1889 and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1985.
- North Pacific Cannery tours include live demonstrations of cannery machinery, a glimpse into the unique living experiences of workers of First Nations, Japanese, Chinese and European descent, and exhibits that show the earliest days of salmon canning, as well as modern methods.
Learn more about the North Pacific Cannery, visit: https://www.northpacificcannery.ca/
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction: www.gov.bc.ca/sdpr