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Pat Bell also spoke at the torch relay prior to the meeting.
REPORTING · 4th February 2010
Walter McFarlane
While the torch was running it’s way through Kitimat on Monday, February 1st, community leaders, as well as groups interested in economic development met with Pat Bell, Minister of Forests at the Kitimat Valley Institute.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss economic development in the community and region as well as the look at the options available to both Kitimat and Kitamaat to diversity and find solutions for long term sustainable industry, small business and employment.

“A very good meeting, we had a diverse of individuals representing everything from local economic development initiatives like KTIDS and economic groups like council, union leadership, people here from industry, chamber of commerce and provincial government,” said Bell.

He stated that the opinions on economic development in the room varied but everyone agreed to come together during these challenging times to achieve diversification.

“I think really, what people have come to the conclusion is, if we focus our efforts on two or three key projects, we’ll have a much better chance of success,” said Bell.

With the recent shutting down of the Eurocan Plant on everyone’s minds, it should come as no surprise that there was a lot discussion regarding the feasibility study that is still going on, in addition to possibilities for the plant if it can no longer make liner board.

Bell did not wish to elaborate on what these three key projects could be. However, he stated the organizations have divided into nine groups and the groups will be coming back together in two weeks time to narrow down their selections. Bell will most likely not be at this meeting. However, there will be representatives from his ministry.