Weekly MP report from Jay Hill

Our forest sector received a much-needed boost last week with news that mills in Prince George-Peace River have qualified for federal credits, totalling $122.8-million, under the Government of Canada’s Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program.

The program allows Canadian pulp and paper companies that produced black liquor in 2009 – a liquid by-product of the chemical pulping process used to generate renewable energy – to access a $1-billion fund.

Forest companies will use that money to help finance green projects at their pulp and paper facilities. Through this program the forest industry can enhance its efficiency and sustainability while reducing carbon emissions and benefitting our environment.

Canfor received credits for the black liquor it produced at the Intercontinental Pulp Mill, the Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill, and the Northwood Pulp Mill. Tembec Inc. also qualified for funding credits from its Chetwynd Pulp Mill.

This week, I was pleased to announce a broad range of other federal funding to boost economic activity and investment in critical infrastructure. I joined my provincial counterparts, MLAs Shirley Bond and Pat Bell, at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Technical Education Centre at the College of New Caledonia’s Prince George Campus.

Through a federal-provincial partnership, the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) invested $19.7-million towards the new building, as well as renovations at the John Brink Trades and Technology Building.

KIP supports maintenance, repair and expansion projects to strengthen the ability of Canada’s colleges and universities to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training and attract new students.

With this infusion of new funding, our government has helped to speed up project start dates at a time when our economy needs new construction activity.

I also joined Ministers Bond and Bell on Thursday to highlight other federal-provincial investments to create new construction jobs and support Prince George’s economic diversification strategy.

Under the Building Canada Communities Component, $15-million will ensure the Boundary Road connector provides an important link between the region’s transportation network and the Airport Logistics Park.

Highway 97 resurfacing between 5th Avenue and Kelly Road, through $4.5-million from the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, will further support Prince George’s role as a central hub in the movement of goods in Northwestern Canada.

Earlier in the week, I announced federal contributions under the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RinC) program. RinC is a temporary economic stimulus measure that will help renew, upgrade and expand recreational infrastructure in Canadian communities.

Tumbler Ridge will receive $1-million to support upgrades to the Tumbler Ridge Recreation Centre.

A $20,200 RinC grant was also part of the funding partnership between the Government of Canada, the Village of McBride, the Province and the Rick Hanson Foundation, to provide an accessible play space at the McBride Community Park.

Minister Bond and I also confirmed another federal-provincial investment of $1.38-million in McBride to support Phase 2 of the Village’s eco-sensitive solution to wastewater management.

In all, the week brought assurance that the buzz of construction and economic activity will continue throughout our region in the coming weeks and months as Canada remains on track towards a fragile but certain economic recovery.