Friday, July 10, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Thursday, July 9, 2009

We meet the new economic development officer, Mr. Veniez comes to the defence of Mr. Veniez and with everyone on vacation, the FSA results make it to the Daily News. Some of the items of note in the Thursday edition of the paper.

NEW ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICER GETS DOWN TO BUSINESS-- An impressive resume and perhaps a different vision for the economic future of the city, that in a snapshot appears to be what Nellie Cheng may be bringing to her new position as the Economic Development officer for Prince Rupert and Port Edward, the Daily News provided some background on her as the front page, headline story (see story below)

Mr. Veniez is quick to the editorial pages this week, as he offers up his interpretations of the recent turmoil at Ridley Terminals, a fast moving situation that recently saw Mr. Veniez removed from his position as Chairman and President of the coal handling facility. He calls for a more in depth investigation into the events at Ridley, seeking for MP's to take a second look at how the Terminal is being operated under its current configuration, he makes his case in an editorial page submission on page four (you can find it here)

The school year is done, the report cards handed out and for the most part we suspect the students and teachers have all ventured forth on their summer vacation plans. With recently discovered documentation from the Provincial Government, the Daily News outlines the recent results of the controversial FSA testing program, which suggests that there are several schools locally not meeting the FSA expectations. The paper provides a website address that those interested in the final accounts, from that site we can access the results to learn more. Earlier in February, on this blog we provided the results of the Fraser Institute's annual report on the FSA's, a controversial document that frequently makes news by the coverage that the report receives and the feedback that it generates from parents, teachers and school administrators.

The Sports page provided a look at the Founders Cup competition at the Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Course.

Total Pages in the Thursday edition (14)

Front page, Headline story:


By Monica Lamb-Yorski

The Daily News

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pages one and five

After three days on the job, Prince Rupert and Port Edward's new economic development officer Nellie Cheng has made a couple of observations.

"People here have a strong community spirit.

People all know each other. It's very different from the big city where people don't have a strong sense of community:' Cheng said at her office Wednesday morning.

From the people she's met so far, she's also learned that while optimism exists in the community, there are many challenges she will face as an economic development officer.

"I've been asking myself 'what will make this community strong?''' she said.

When it comes to promoting economic development, Cheng noted there are tViO important things to consider.

One is attracting business from the outside and the other is the organic growth of local business.

"We really have to encourage the local entrepreneurs. Doing that leads to more solid growth in the economy. How are we going to really work with local entrepreneurs and try to stimulate the economy here? I think it'll be really interesting."

And already Cheng has been thinking about the best ways to engage the community in the discussion. Or as she put it, "mobilize every fabric of the society".

So far her list includes the college, community organizations, residents and businesses. She hopes they can all be part of the discussion.

Minutes into the interview she asked what my ideas about stimulating local economy might be?

Cheng is originally from China. She was one of the first group of students to enter university in 1977 after the cultural revolution in China. She studied communications and then moved to Montreal to complete a Masters degree at Concordia University.

"Most of my classmates went into advertising and media," Cheng said of her communications studies.

When Cheng was in Montreal she joined CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) and worked for a firm, mostly in work related to Asia.

Through that experience she moved to Vancouver in 1989 and ended up working for an engineering company and eventually for the World Bank.

From there she started working with the BC Government in trade and investment.

"I was there to promote and attract investment inBC."

The state of Washington got wind of Cheng's talents and asked her to work for them doing the same thing.

"Washington wanted to set up an Asian Desk and recruited me."

She returned to Vancouver in 1999 to work for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation International - again as a promoter - but this time around, she was promoting Canadian building materials internationally.

"Canada is quite strong in green design and sustainable planning. I was promoting Canadian design capability in Asia."

From 2006 to 2008 she worked on promoting the City of Vancouver through the Vancouver Economic Development Commission and as a project manager for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"I have been moving around quite a bit," Cheng admitted.

Cheng's husband lives in Vancouver where he has a manufacturing business, making natural skin and hair products.

"It's very rare for people to make things in Canada. It's a very niche and small business."

Presently Cheng has an office at City Hall and will be in Port Edward every other Thursday.

She was formally welcomed to City Hall on Monday evening during the regular council meeting.

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