TERRACE - Terrace and Kitimat were in the spotlight as Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, toured the area for a first-hand look at growth in jobs and the economy in the region.
The two communities are fast becoming centres of business opportunity, job growth and examples of the power of a strong economy. Bond visited businesses, toured projects and met with local leaders Thursday and Friday to see some of the businesses and projects currently in operation and others that are planned.
The first stop on the tour was to open the government-funded BC Chamber of Commerce forum in conjunction with the Terrace District Chamber of Commerce to connect local business leaders with ways to improve competitiveness in a global marketplace. Bond highlighted B.C’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the road map to ensure British Columbia has the skilled labour force needed to seize the opportunity of the LNG sector and across the economy.
Bond also joined the Industry Training Authority in recognizing two local employers who are helping to train the next generation of workers by sponsoring apprentices. She presented Kalum Tire Service Ltd. and Mumford’s Beerhouse and Grill with certificates in honour of their support of apprenticeship training and efforts to give workers hands on learning in their trade.
While in Kitimat, Bond viewed the $2.7 billion Rio Tinto Alcan Modernization Project. It is one of the main reasons for growth in the area. Once it is completed, it will be one of the most efficient lowest-cost smelters in the world and will help B.C. to meet a growing demand for aluminum in the Asia-Pacific market.
One of the local businesses that is benefiting from the Rio Tinto Alcan Modernization Project is Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse and Bar. Owner Teena Pereira thought she would need 59 people when she opened up her franchise last fall, she has now hired 70 employees and that number is growing. The restaurant was the location where Bond sat down for lunch with Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan to discuss the community’s growth.
On Friday morning, Bond met with Terrace mayor, David Pernarowski and chief administrative officer Heather Avison and then joined economic development officer, Blaine Moore to tour the Skeena Industrial Park. It serves as a service and supply centre for the northwest and a flagship for the city’s economic development strategy. It is a partnership between the city and the Kitsellas First Nation, with the First Nation leasing 88 acres to Chevron for pipeline work.
The final stop on the tour was the Northwest Regional Airport which is in the first stage of a 20-year renovation plan to accommodate growth. It has already seen a 41% increase in passenger traffic as of March 2014.
Terrace and Kitimat are two key areas within Northwestern B.C. which will benefit from major economic growth due to LNG and other industrial development. To help them prepare, the Province recently announced grants of up to $1 million for communities in the region. The funds are helping them to ensure documents such as community and zoning plans are up to date.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour -
“Terrace and Kitimat are experiencing remarkable growth. This is no doubt a welcome change from the tough times both communities faced not too long ago. I’m pleased to see the economy thriving. It’s only going to get stronger as LNG will bring major investment to the region. It’s critical that we work together to make sure that we are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that the global marketplace provides.”
Janice Shaben, president Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce -
“We are delighted that the BC Chamber received funding from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and that Minister Shirley Bond attended our Competitiveness BC roundtable session. As Terrace and the region prepares for the growth the LNG projects are bringing, it’s an ideal time to for discussions on how to improve B.C.'s productivity and competitiveness. I believe this is a great opportunity for our region and the increased economy benefits will only be for the betterment of our business community.”
- By 2022 one million jobs openings in all sectors in all parts of the province are expected.
- More than 78% of the jobs will require some form of post-secondary education, and 43% will needs skilled trades and technical workers.
Learn More at:
BC Government Newsroom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWL2Fu0mugA&feature=youtu.be
BC Government Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour