Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Podunk Below the masthead, Monday, September 28, 2009

The future of the North is on the rise, some valuable lessons on depression for students and rural health care are some of the items of note in the news cycle for Monday.

COLLABORATING TO DEVELOP THE 'NEW NORTH'-- Tim McEwan, the head of Initiatives Prince George was in the city on Friday, outlining his thoughts on the future of the North and the need for communities to collaborate their efforts to develop the potential of Northern BC. (Daily News Archive Article )

Students of the city's two high schools and the upper grades of the elementary schools had the opportunity to take in the lessons provided by a travelling group known as Reach Out, the sessions which took place at the Lester Centre of the Arts offered an education on the topic of depression and how it impacts on high school life. (Daily News Archive Article )

The Sports section featured a review of the pre season game between the Prince Rupert Rampage and Terrace over the weekend.

CBC North, Daybreak

Rural and Remote health care is the topic of an upcoming Northern Health conference and the CBC offered up this report. (listen here)

Cleaning Prince Rupert's shores was the subject of another segment of the Daybreak show on Monday, with a look at Prince Rupert's participation in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. (listen here)

Front page, headline story--
Collaborating to develop the 'new north'
By Monica Lamb-Yorski

The Prince Rupert Daily News
Monday, September 28, 2009

According to Tim McEwan, President and CEO of Initiatives Prince George, communities in the Northern B.C. have a reputation for collaborating.

"At the Business Council of B.C. they were discussing that the 40 communities of the north work
together," McEwan said at the Northwest Community College, Prince Rupert campus, on Friday evening.

McEwan was in Prince Rupert Friday as part of the Community Speakers Series developed by UNBC's Community Development Institute.

And while he spoke before a small group of people in Prince Rupert, those listening represented the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Port Edward and Prince Rupert's Economic Development office, the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce and the Community Futures Development Corporation out of Terrace.

Initiatives Prince George is a municipally-owned corporation mandated by the City of Prince George to undertake programs and projects designed to grow and diversify the local economy.
"Our dynamic marketing programs integrate investment attraction, trade development, tourism promotion and events for Prince George. We also take a proactive role in assisting the completion of major business deals that have strategic value for our community," states the corporation's website.

Originally from Trail, McEwan studied at UVIC and was the founding executive director of the BC Progress Board. He has been part of the Business Council of B.C., the BC Business Summit and has worked for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum in the area of land claims and land use conflicts. He sits on the Prince George Native Friendship House board and the board of Focus Foundation of B.C.
While he has only been the CEO of Innovations Prince George for 18 months, he is already convinced that the future of B.C. is in the north.

"As we develop the new north we know that its future will be related to its past. A past that's related to natural resources and a future that's growing a knowledge-based economy built on homegrown talent," McEwan said Friday.

Citing a local example of homegrown talent, McEwan talked about NWCC's School of Exploration and Mining in Smithers and how the program is building capacity with First Nations. "When mining opportunities open up, First Nations will be able to take advantage of employment opportunities," he said.

And when it comes to working with First Nations and developing economies, McEwan used the term "social license".

"It has to be respectful and productive," he explained. "Today's resource developers understand that they have a corporate social responsibility. If they don't we're left with prolonged uncertainty. We have to focus on deepening our relationship with First Nations."

McEwan also believes environmental assessment processes are presently being duplicated by different levels of government.

"There's no reason in my view why the federal government has to repeat provincial government
environmental assessments," he added.

Without flinching, McEwan said he is absolutely thrilled that the federal government has agreed to contribute to the costs of building the transmission line along Highway #37 in Northwestern B.C. and is sure that the province will also help fund the project.

McEwan explained that he has been working closely with Powerline Coalition Co-chair Elmer Derrick, Gitxsan Hereditary Chief, and Northern Development Initiative Trust CEO Janine North, to develop the project.

"We will be meeting next week regarding the transmission line," McEwan said.

Describing the opportunities in the north as staggering, McEwan noted the northern part of the province produced 12 percent of the province's economy in 2008, totalling $3.8 billion. Twenty-nine percent came from forestry, 30 percent from natural gas royalties and 41 percent from other natural resources.

He's convinced the forest industry will come back and that one of the keys to success is to open up a larger Asian market.

"Ministry of Forests statistics suggest that we will have record sales to the Chinese market this year," he added.

Calling natural gas royalties, the province's "economic bullet", McEwan cited the 800 trillion feet of gas in place at the Horn River Basin in northeastern BC as an economic boost that could see BC rival Alberta in 20 to 30 years.

McEwan is excited about the possibilities in the north and emphasized how Prince Rupert and Prince George can work together to do joint marketing and have a unified voice that opens up the corridor to investment.

The container port in Prince Rupert has been an exciting development making Prince Rupert the northern port and Prince George the transportation hub.

Other advantages could be gained by promoting international education. "It's a direct way to market Northern BC," McEwan said.

As the decade of preparing to host the Olympics comes to a close, McEwan is advocating the next ten years become a "Northern Decade".

"There needs to be a better understanding between north and south where we're not pitted against each other," he said.

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