Opportunities are abundant for smaller communities like Salmon Arm in Christy Clark’s LNG vision for the future of British Columbia.
The premier champions Salmon Arm’s Valid Manufacturing as a company already positioning itself to become a leader in that future, but she says the scope of who could benefit is potentially greater – provided businesses are proactive.
“It’s an endless list, from catering to lawyering to welding to temporary housing to training to environmental expertise, you name it,” Clark explained to a room of 127 people last Wednesday, during a luncheon arranged by the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort.
“Lots of B.C. companies are already benefitting,” Clark continued. “If people in this room want to find a way to hook in, we really want you to go to the BuyBC LNG site, register and become a part of that, and we are really actively… trying to connect small- and medium-sized B.C. companies.”
The comments were in response to one of three questions the chamber had an opportunity to ask of the premier following her presentation. Another related to the chamber’s concerns over commercial truck traffic rolling through town, related safety concerns and the concept of a highway bypass the chamber has been exploring. Clark, in response, said highway safety is a problem facing many smaller communities on major transportation routes across the province. She said the province, ICBC and the City of Salmon Arm are working on signalizing some intersections in the downtown core. She noted the province is in the process of making “big investments,” but it has to make sure they’re ones that will work for the community.
“We do want to make sure that our transportation investments connect communities, not bypass communities, because we know the impact that that change can have. But we do want to make sure that it’s done safely,” said Clark.
Question number three had to do with improving wage parity between women and men – equal work for equal pay.
Clark said this is not something the B.C. government is thinking of legislating, but is a situation that will improve with the creation of more jobs and greater competition.
She also said the province needs to make sure women are getting the training they need, emphasizing “non-traditional areas” for women, including mining, technology and trades. This was a point Clark spoke to in her presentation – that, in this year’s provincial budget, the B.C. government is reducing financial barriers to single parents that might prevent them from pursuing needed education.
“Starting Sept. 1, if you’re a single parent in B.C. and you want to go get training for a job that’s needed in our province, we’re going to let you stay on social assistance for a year, we’re going to let you keep your health and dental benefits for your kids and for yourself, we will pay you for your transportation, we will pay for your tuition, and we will pay for your child care so there are no barriers for you to be able to get the training to get that job,” said Clark.
She also took a moment to praise Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, and the work he’s doing on behalf of his constituents.
“You don’t know the half of the work Greg Kyllo does for you and for all British Columbians in this community,” said Clark.