NEWS RELEASE · 26th June 2014
Government of BC
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.