This week was another week in Victoria in the Legislature debating a series of Ministry budgets as well as a variety of bills. The biggest news of the week though was the entry of the “Site C” Dam into the Environmental Assessment processes of both the Provincial and Federal Governments. This project will have enormous economic benefits to our region in the coming decade and deserves all of our attention. The project has been upgraded from 800 to 1,100 megawatts of power and the price has increased from $6 billion to $7.9 billion but the power continues to remain as affordable as we can find in today’s market.
I’m looking forward to being home this weekend although the weather’s not looking the best.
Have a great week!
- As the third project on one river system, Site C would gain significant efficiencies by taking advantage of water already stored in the Williston Reservoir. This means that Site C would generate approximately 35 per cent of the energy produced at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, with only five per cent of the reservoir area.
- Site C would foster economic development by creating approximately 7,000 person-years of direct construction employment through the seven-year construction period. The project is estimated to create up to 35,000 direct and indirect jobs through all stages of development and construction.
- Congratulations to the Northern Development Initiatives Trust this week on reaching a new benchmark in their efforts. To date, $100 million has been committed by Northern Development into eight hundred and three individual projects totalling over $1 billion in total project investments in central and northern BC. These investments were made 'by northerners - for northerners' and funds have flowed into projects where communities, First Nations and businesses are taking leadership in growing jobs, revenues and quality of life.
- A recent project is the Wind Turbine Maintenance Program Training Tower - Northern Lights College - $100,000 grant, and $38,320 loan toward the $494,000 project
- Northern Lights College will build a training tower for use in the Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician Program on the Dawson Creek campus adjacent to the new 'Energy House' facility that houses this program as well other courses related to renewable energy. The tower is designed to duplicate conditions faced by wind turbine technicians when repairing, maintaining, installing, or otherwise working on a wind turbine system "at height" (on top of a supporting tower). Students will take courses in confined space entry, wind turbine safety, high angle rescue, climbing, and proper use of protective gear. This highly specialized training will provide access to certified technicians for wind energy companies operating throughout BC.
- This past week a new Treaty was introduced into legislation. The Yale First Nation Final Agreement includes self-government provisions and phases out tax exemptions. The treaty will provide Yale with a capital transfer of $10.7 million, economic development funding of $2.2 million and 1,966 hectares of land owned in fee simple, made up of 217 hectares of former Yale Indian reserves and 1,749 hectares of Crown lands.
- The Final Agreement clearly defines Yale First Nation’s ownership and management of mineral, forestry and other resources on treaty settlement lands. The Final Agreement also defines Yale’s rights related to fishing, gathering and harvesting.
- Soccer fever will hit BC as fans gather to enjoy international women’s soccer at BC Place early next year: eight teams from across the western hemisphere, including squads from Canada and the United States will compete to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.
- The Province has provided $250,000 to support the Canadian Soccer Association’s successful efforts to host the prestigious Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) tournament.
- Canada’s National Women’s Soccer Team, currently ranked sixth in the world, includes British Columbia athletes: team captain Christine Sinclair of Burnaby, Karina LeBlanc of Maple Ridge, Emily Zurrer of Crofton, Brittany Timko of Coquitlam and Sophie Schmidt of Abbotsford.
- A program that I helped start in 2005 is growing! More B.C. children will have access to fresh, B.C.-grown fruit and vegetable snacks in the classroom thanks to a $3-million expansion of the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program.
- Starting in September 2011 through the 2012-13 school year, the program will be available to all B.C. public schools and will expand from the current 1,172 public schools to 1,402 schools, which includes most public and First Nations schools in British Columbia. In addition, $2.5 million from the Ministry of Health’s healthy eating in schools budget has been allocated to support student access to fruit and vegetables for the next two years. One-time grants will also be available to schools to purchase fridges and salad bar equipment to support local solutions to increase fruit and vegetable access for students.
- The best of B.C.’s responsible and sustainable mining industry were honoured with the 2010 Mining and Sustainability Awards. Presented by the Mining Association of B.C. and the Province, the winners for 2010 are Northgate Minerals’ Kemess South Mine and the Northwest Community College’s school of exploration and mining (SEM). The school of exploration and mining came about as a result of the Mining Plan that I developed in 2004/5 when I was Minister of State for Mining so it’s great to see it working well!
- More than a quarter million British Columbians participated in 11 HST telephone-town hall meetings in communities across the province in the last three weeks. Of the 417,464 British Columbians who answered the tele-town hall calls – 66 per cent – or 276,504 people, participated in the calls and stayed on the phone for almost 17 minutes on average.
Great news for the Prince George Exhibition this past week as they were provided with a grant of $27,000 to help with this year’s X!