Regional Rundown: Looking beyond the mill closure

It has been a few weeks now since the mill has closed and it has made our little town very quiet.

It has been a few weeks now since the mill has closed and it has made our little town very quiet.

The Worker Transition Team is still meeting and will continue to provide information and support for all of the displaced workers.

In the meantime, council is working very hard on economic development to provide future opportunities and keep our community going.

We have established a Canal Flats Economic Development Working Group, which includes staff from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, and the Ministry of Forest, Land and Natural Resources. We are also joined by MLA Norm Macdonald, representatives from CBT, Canfor, Ktunaxa First Nation and RDEK. We are currently developing a work plan that will help guide us through the process of becoming economically viable and sustainable. Thanks to a $50,000 grant from CBT, we will be able to hire an Economic Development/Business Liaison who will help guide us through the process and proposals we are faced with following the mill closure.

Councillor Sterzer recently attended the BC Economic Development Association Workshop in Richmond. This group started the Economic Disaster Recovery Project, which has helped various communities in British Columbia to recover after a natural or economic disaster.

Due to cost restraints, they were unable to send a team to Canal Flats. However, they used Canal Flats as a case study for part of the workshop. The result is a report that will contain recommendations for how the Village of Canal Flats can recover from this economic blow of the mill closing. Council has also started the annual budget process and is very cognizant of the current situation while making decisions on your tax dollars. We have already passed a resolution suspending council’s pay increase for 2016. We have also added a line item for economic development to the budget.

This will allow us to move any money that is not needed for a project at this time, or grants coming in, towards economic development.

Ute Juras is the mayor of Canal Flats and can be reached at 250-489-9070 or by e-mail at ujuras@gmail.com.

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