While NDP North Island MLA Claire Trevena welcomes the new BC Jobs Plan to Campbell River, she has some reservations about what it could mean for the city.
“I think it’s important we do come together to find a way to find employment, it’s a real need and something that’s been happening in the community for quite some time,” Trevena said. “My caution with the Jobs Plan, and I have talked to Minister (Pat) Bell about it, is that it’s not just going to be the government saying we’ll all come together to talk about it, and that’s it but that the government actually puts something into it.”
Bell, minister of jobs, tourism and innovation, announced last Thursday that Campbell River is one of four pilot communities for the provincial government’s Canada Starts Here: BC Jobs Plan. The plan is aimed at attracting investment, identifying opportunities, economic diversification and job creation. The goal is to create long-term jobs and investment across the province by building on key competitive advantages.
Campbell River will be one of the first B.C. communities the government assists by providing expertise, and facilitating community and regional linkages to key partners, stakeholders and programs to advance investment opportunities, according to a provincial government release.
In January, Bell will be in Campbell River to host a forum with representatives from local government, business, industry, First Nations and education to explore investment opportunities and share solutions in overcoming barriers. By the end of the forum, an inventory of potential programs and an initial action plan on how best to implement them will have been created, says the release.
“These pilots will help us to focus on specific job-creating opportunities,” Bell said last week. “This is about working with our community and First Nations partners to create a sustainable economic future.”
As a pilot community, Campbell River will receive no funding from the province.
Trevena wonders what that could mean for the city’s chances at attracting new jobs and industry.
“That underlines my concern,” Trevena said. “If the government is not adding any money, that’s where the red flags are coming from. What value is added from the government’s Jobs Plan – we’ll have to wait and see what it is.”
Mayor-elect Walter Jakeway credited outgoing Mayor Charlie Cornfield and current councillors for lobbying the B.C. government.
“They did a great job passionately pushing the community to the government,” Jakeway said. “It’s great to be chosen, we’ll get the benefit of their creativity. It will be fun to watch and be a part of.”
Jakeway said the Jobs Plan will allow Campbell River to focus on job possibilities and lead the way in employment across the province.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of other communities that wish they could have been chosen,” Jakeway said.
For more information, visit bcjobsplan.ca.