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Falcon Expands Northern Prosperity Agenda

Monday, December 20, 2010

Prince George, BC: Liberal Candidate Kevin Falcon discussed new approaches to building BC’s economy in the province’s North during a visit to Prince George today.

“Prince George is a critical transportation hub for B.C., and a key service hub for northern B.C,” said Falcon. “It has served as a major resource centre for decades, and has one of BC’s best universities. In my visits throughout northern BC, people have told me about opportunities to grow the northern economy. Ministers Pat Bell and Shirley Bond have, through their leadership, helped facilitate the area’s growth.“I’m confident that we can do more for Prince George and the North to help it create more jobs and opportunities for growing the economy. This is a key part of the “Northern Prosperity Agenda” I announced in Fort St. John,” he said.

“My first initiative as Premier would be to work with northern resource and tourism businesses to create a new Pacific Gateway Northern Corridor (PGNC) Strategy. This would build on the programs and ideas that people here have been discussing – to make Prince George an international road, rail and air intermodal hub – and tourism hub. Part of this would see not only regional agricultural and resource traffic, but international traffic and tourists as well.”

A Northern Ports Strategy would be a key element of the PGNC Strategy and would:

· Seek to expand and optimize the assets we currently have in place in Prince Rupert, Ridley, Kitimat and Stewart in order to provide export and backhaul capability to manage the growth in our wood products, wood pellets, mineral resources, and agricultural products headed for the fast growing Asian market.

· Determine how to optimize the use of an “inland port” such as Prince George to take advantage of road, rail and air logistics capabilities, thereby creating economic opportunities for communities across the north and interior of our province.

“It’s important to bring government closer to the people of the north to make these northern strategies happen. One of the ways I’d like to do that is to establish a northern Premier’s Regional Office here in Prince George that my Cabinet and I can use as a base for interacting with people in northern B.C.”

“My goal is to work with Northern citizens to create more opportunities for them to connect with government leadership for the benefit of all of B.C. What I’ve announced today, and the rural and interior rural roads plan I announced recently in Fort St. John, were ideas I've heard from the north that we worked to develop. We need to continue to do that. “

The BC Liberal Party leadership vote will take place on February 26, 2011. For more information, visit kevinfalcon.com


Media contact:
Trevor Pancoust

Northern Prosperity Agenda

1. Establish a Premier's Regional Office in Prince George for the Premier and Cabinet to use as a base for interacting with people in Northern BC

2. Make Prince George an international road, rail, tourism and air intermodal hub to better link the North to the world

3. Expand and optimize our port and infrastructure assets at Prince Rupert, Ridley, Kitimat and Stewart, in order to provide Northern export and backhaul capability for our wood products, wood pellets, mineral resources and agricultural products

4. Optimize Prince George as an “inland port” taking advantage of road, rail and air logistics capabilities

5. Extend and increase our investment in the Interior and Rural Side Roads Program beyond 2013

6. Renew the three-year Oil and Gas Road Improvement Program beyond 2011 to support private sector investment in oil and gas exploration

7. Move forward with the Northwest Transmission Line to unlock natural resource and clean power potential such as wind, run of river and biomass

8. Make BC public lands available for lease for the privately funded workforce housing projects needed to support resource and infrastructure development

9. Reduce onerous ALR processes on Peace region farmland to ensure a regionally sensitive ALR

10. Enhance our northern skills and capacity to include engineering and address shortages in certain medical support positions through development of our northern educational institutions, geoscience research capabilities, and initiatives such as the proposed Wood Design and Innovation Centre