Representatives of the major business sector, small business, the Princeton & District Chamber of Commerce along with RDOS Area H and Town Council gathered together last week with John Les, M.L.A. Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Pamela Martin, Director of Outreach, Office of the Premier to discuss Premier Christy Clark’s Canada starts here: The BC Jobs Plan.
“The three pillared plan to help deal with today’s economic uncertainty and emerge from it stronger than ever includes; working with employers and communities to enable job creation across B.C., strengthening our infrastructure to get our goods to market and expanding markets for B.C. products and services, particularly in Asia.” The plan is available for viewing and comments are most welcomed. Visit www.bcjobsplan.ca, join on Facebook www.facebook.com/BCJobsandEconomy or join in on Twitter at #BCJobs.
The Princeton & District Museum housed the meeting which was most graciously hosted by Mr. Bob Wicks, President of The Princeton & District Museum Society.
Part of initiating the BC Jobs Plan consists of visiting with communities across the province and finding out what the government could do to assist with the maintenance and creation of jobs throughout the communities of B.C.
A shared concern with Princeton Wood Preservers (PWP) and Princeton Co-Generation Corporation (Co-Gen) was that of forest licensing and stumpage rates. Left over tree tops unused by Weyerhaeuser could be used by PWP or Co-Gen, but the stumpage rates are so high it is not worth it for either company to use them. These tops end up either rotting or are burned as waste, resulting in a huge loss of a recyclable resource.
Elizabeth Marion of PWP said that, “our licensing requires that we take in 35 per cent bug kill wood to create product, however the Ministry of Transport won’t take fencing product from us if it contains the least amount of blue stain.”
Bill Vowles of The Hut, brought forth the issue facing many recycling depots. They want to include the recycling of other products such as small electronics. He noted, “We pay for these programs, but we can’t get them here.”
Other local concerns shared around the table included; growth and retention strategies (the need to attract and retain professionals and those with higher skilled trades), education (cost prohibitive) – getting programs for upgrading skills such as nursing, recreation (development of further infrastructure) to attract and retain individuals/professionals, and last, but hardly the least— the issues revolving around medical services. (senior health care, doctor/nursing shortages, ER services and transportation to specialist services)
Director of Outreach, Pamela Martin shared the fact that “community concerns are familiar across the province. Hospital— medical concerns—all the red tape. We can’t promise to solve all these issues, but we want to hear from you and hopefully we can help you solve them.”
Chamber of Commerce Director, Jerome Tjerkstra asked, “what can we do as a follow up to this meeting?”
Secretary Les responded by saying, “We will take responsibility for follow up. It is our responsibility to go back and figure out solutions.” He also noted that due to infrastructure blocks already in place, “It looks to be a pretty good future in Princeton.”
On behalf of the community members present, Mayor Randy McLean extended his thanks to Secretary Les, Pamela Martin and their assistants for their time. He also extended appreciation to Premier Clark for reaching out with this initiative.