The $21-million seismic refit of the Mission Bridge on Highway 11 is into its final phase. Work is underway to improve the earthquake resistance of the ground and bridge footings.
Premier Christy Clark welcomed Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic Airways to British Columbia for the airline's inaugural flight from London to Vancouver. This new service will bring approximately 40,000 people to B.C. each year, and is expected to generate $21.5 million in tourism revenue.
Work on Phase 2 of the Cariboo Connector is officially underway, with the start of construction to widen a stretch of Highway 97 to four lanes near 70 Mile House. Our government is investing $200 million over the next five years.
Premier Christy Clark completed her second Jobs and Trade Mission to Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, during which 25 business deals and partnership agreements were signed or announced with a value of more than half a billion dollars. The mission followed a commitment made in 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan' to strengthen existing relationships between B.C. and Asian markets by opening doors for new relationships and setting the stage for future opportunities. The mission also focused on promoting British Columbia's natural resources, as well as clean and high technologies to Asian investors.
Our government provided B.C. apple and tree fruit growers with $2 million to help replant low-value orchards with high-demand varieties. Part of the Agrifoods Strategy, the goal is to expand domestic markets by targeting the planting of premium varieties such as Ambrosia and red strains of Gala. The program also includes a grafting and budding component, and will operate for three years. Growers can apply to participate in the program at any time.
Our government issued a Mines Act permit to Huldra Silver Inc. for its Treasure Mountain silver mine, approximately 29 km east of Hope and 40 km west of Princeton. Estimated at $12 million, this project will provide 25 full-time jobs in the area.
A new strategic engagement agreement (SEA) with the Kaska Dena First Nations in northwestern B.C. provides greater certainty about how resource development can proceed in more than 10 per cent of the province.
Our government announced a long-term plan designed to develop the mining industry and create jobs. The new B.C. Mineral Exploration and Mining Strategy outlines a plan to create eight new mines and expand nine existing ones by 2015.
A $3.7-million contract was awarded to Peter's Bros. Construction Ltd. from Penticton for resurfacing work to be done on Highway 1 and Highway 23 in the Revelstoke area. The work will improve the safety and ride along these important highway corridors.
South Peace families will benefit from a provincial investment of almost $54 million in highways in the South Peace this year, creating local jobs and improving the condition and safety of roads in the region.
Work began to replace the 55-year-old timber Sombrio No. 1 Bridge to improve safety and reliability for residents and tourists.
B.C.'s high-tech greenhouse vegetable and floriculture growers received $7.6 million in carbon tax relief, allowing producers to focus on maintaining their competitive edge and building B.C.'s half-billion-dollar-a-year greenhouse industry.
Premier Christy Clark marked the half-way completion milestone of the expanded South Fraser Perimeter Road. The $1.3-billion South Fraser Perimeter Road is expected to create 4,000 construction jobs and 7,000 long-term jobs in manufacturing, light-industrial, and small-business operations in Surrey and Delta.
Premier Christy Clark launched a new transportation strategy that will expand trading opportunities with Asia and help B.C. businesses grow and create jobs. The new Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy 2012-2020 will support the key elements of 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan' to expand markets for B.C. products and strengthen infrastructure to get goods to market.
Premier Clark delivered opening remarks at this year's GLOBE Conference highlighting the 8,400 jobs and $2.5 billion in revenues the B.C. clean technology sector produces. Premier Clark also released a report, B.C.'s Green Economy Growing Green Jobs, which highlights the unique advantages which have made B.C. a global leader in sustainable economic development.
Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, is pleased with the federal government's announcement of a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. The announcement is a step forward to enhancing B.C. trade with Asia and builds on the spectacular success in key market exports identified in Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan.
Municipal port property tax rates were permanently capped for designated ports, making B.C.’s ports even more attractive to Canadian and international investors.
Budget 2012 outlined a three year plan where government will contain spending growth to an annual average of two per cent while continuing to protect health and education funding. Budget 2012 laid a firm foundation for the future, putting British Columbia on the right path to eliminate the deficit, protect public services, and build a more competitive economy that attracts jobs and investment.
Work began to transfer the government-owned and operated liquor distribution branch warehouses in Vancouver and Kamloops to the private sector by 2015. By privatizing the warehouses, long-term capital gains will be realized, and this will create an opportunity for the private sector to find more efficient ways to distribute liquor in B.C.
TThe Government of British Columbia proclaimed the week of Feb. 20-24, 2012 as Chamber of Commerce Week in B.C.
The value of British Columbia's softwood lumber exports to China jumped 60 per cent in 2011, surpassing the $1-billion mark for the first time. Since 2003, lumber exports to China have risen by more than 1,500 per cent.
The B.C. government is funding $216,720 to an industry group headed by the GLOBE Foundation for a research project that will examine the labour market needs and job potential of British Columbia's emerging clean economy sector. The project highlights our government's dedication to creating green jobs for young people.
The Port of Prince Rupert exceeded expectations and had another strong year in 2011 with record exports of forest, coal, and grain products to China, Japan, and Korea. The increased port traffic and expanding trade markets are part of the BC Jobs Plan's many successes.
Our government has funded six new Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund projects in order to support the development of new clean energy technologies. These projects will create jobs and local investment in Vancouver, Delta, Burnaby, and Sooke. This initiative signals the Government's dedication to creating jobs and diversifying clean energy technology.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations issued a request for proposals from private parties interested in replanting Crown land damaged by wildfires, pine beetle and other factors not related to commercial timber harvesting. Our government is dedicated to creating forestry jobs, fight global warming, and reduce their carbon footprint under innovative silviculture partnerships.
The Governments of Canada and British Columbia have invested around $2.7 million to modernize the Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative's storage facility in Lake Country, through the Tree Fruit Market and Infrastructure Initiative. This investment is expected to reduce total operating costs by $340,000 annually. The tree fruit industry, an integral part of British Columbia's agricultural sector, will save on operating costs and continue to drive the economy.
The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society held an export development workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 1 to help local businesses and organizations learn the basic details about exporting. Our collaboration with the Society's export development workshop builds on 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan' and is part of ongoing efforts to help municipalities and companies build international partnerships.
With lumber export sales of 4.28 billion board feet as of November 2011, B.C. exports to China have surpassed the province's 2008 goal of exporting four billion board feet in 2011. The province is now taking this winning strategy for lumber and applying it to how we market and grow other sectors under 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan'.
An Expert Panel on Tax was appointed to provide analysis and recommendations to the provincial government on business tax competitiveness and administrative improvements to streamline the Provincial Sales Tax.
Finance Minister Falcon launched a new website that invites British Columbians to balance the budget for 2013-14. The My B.C. Budget website allows British Columbians to see the effect of raising and lowering revenues and spending on the provincial budget, with the goal of eliminating the 2013-14 deficit.
Premier Christy Clark announced the creation of the B.C. Immigration Task Force to review key government programs to increase the number of skilled immigrants and investors in British Columbia.
The Huu-ay-aht First Nation signed the first-ever First Nations' woodland licence with the Government of British Columbia. The licence allows the Huu-ay-aht First Nation to have a larger say in the management of the land consistent with the culture and values of their community.
Local commuters, farmers and truckers in Tsawwassen now have a safer, more reliable route to cross Deltaport Way at 41B Street. It is the first of nine projects completed in the $307 million Roberts Bank Rail Corridor (RBRC) program that will ease traffic congestion in the communities of Delta and Surrey, as well as the City and Township of Langley.
The provincial government granted Kwagis Power Limited Partnership an environmental assessment certificate for the proposed Kokish River Hydroelectric Project. Once in operation, 120 person-years of full-time direct employment will be created over the estimated 40 year life of the project.
Greenhouse gas reduction regulation will help diversify and increase the market for natural gas in B.C.'s transportation sector, and deliver on our Natural Gas Strategy. These programs will increase options and opportunities for the transportation industry to use natural gas, a cheaper and cleaner option than traditional fuels like gasoline and diesel. By encouraging the use of natural gas, our government is making use of one of B.C.'s natural resources.
Contributions from the federal and provincial governments to the Tohoku Reconstruction Project will support rebuilding of the Yuriage City Public Market, a significant first step in helping the local farming and fishing industry.
The Upper Harris Bridge between Lake Cowichan and Port Renfrew will be replaced, improving the safety and reliability of this Harris River crossing. A $1.2-million contract was awarded to Don Mann Excavating Ltd. of Victoria.
On March 21, our government issued the first-ever multi-tenure agreement to Cape Scott Wind Farm Inc. This agreement provides the necessary licences and authorizations to begin construction of up to 55 wind turbines near Port Hardy. A more efficient permitting system allows construction to begin sooner, bringing hundreds of jobs to northern Vancouver Island.
The Red Chris Development Corporation was issued a Mines Act permit for its Red Chris copper and gold mine, located 80 km south of Dease Lake. The capital cost of this development is projected to be around $444 million and it will provide 250 full-time jobs.
Approximately 100 kilometers of fencing will be installed this year to prevent livestock from straying onto B.C. highways and railroads, as part of our government’s $10-million highway and railroad livestock fencing plan.
The first of nine new Cariboo Connector four-laning projects on Highway 97 went to tender. The Old Cariboo Highway to Sintich Road project will widen approximately 3.5 km of Highway 97 to four lanes, and includes intersection improvements along the corridor. Work is scheduled to begin this year with completion anticipated in summer 2013.
The Provincial Government invested $25.8 million in highway infrastructure improvements in the Northwest to improve the ride, safety and efficiency of the highway network for residents, travellers and commercial drivers.
A $75,000 grant from our Government will enable B.C.'s farmers' markets to better meet British Columbians' growing demand for fresh and local foods. The funds will be used by the B.C. Association of Farmers' Markets to help implement their 2011-16 strategic plan to ensure a network of 125 markets throughout the province continue to connect British Columbians with farmers and food producers.
Investor response to B.C.'s credit strength prompted the Provincial Government to launch a $1.25-billion US-dollar global bond issue as part of its annual borrowing program. The move followed Finance Minister Kevin Falcon's annual investor tour, which saw investors buy more than $275 million in B.C. bonds after hearing about B.C.'s fiscal and economic position.
Premier Christy Clark announced an additional investment to the Cariboo Connector expansion, to widen 30 km of Highway 97 to four lanes between Prince George and Cache Creek. Our government is investing $200 million over the next five years for Phase 2 of the Cariboo Connector. It is a key part of the new Transportation Sectoral Strategy that commits $700 million over the next five years to increase capacity on key provincial highways and railways to support trade and economic growth.
In April, the three major credit rating agencies affirmed their credit ratings for the Province of B.C., including triple-A ratings - the highest possible - from Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Services.
Our government approved an environmental assessment certificate for the proposed Tumbler Ridge Wind Energy Project in northeast B.C. Once completed, the $125 million project will produce enough energy for up to 18,000 homes and create 75 person years of direct employment.
After one of the most extensive review processes in British Columbia's history, our government approved the Jumbo Glacier Master Development Agreement. The resort could be North America's only year-round, glacier-based ski resort.
B.C.'s new agrifoods strategy promotes B.C.'s high quality products locally and internationally, with the goal of increasing industry revenues from the current $10.5 billion to $14 billion annually by 2017. The agrifood sector is critical to B.C.'s future and integral to the BC Jobs Plan, employing over 61,000 people and ensuring British Columbians have access to safe and quality food products.
Environment Minister Terry Lake announced $2 million in funding for the Prince George-based Carbon Offset Aggregation Cooperative (COAC). This first-of-a-kind program helps heavy equipment operators and trucking companies lower their carbon emissions by providing low-interest loans used for retrofitting.
B.C. beef producers benefitted from an investment in three projects from the Canada-British Columbia Ranching Task Force Funding Initiative totalling nearly $900,000. The investment will increase the industry's profitability through consumer education and improved market information.
British Columbia eliminated the aviation fuel tax for international flights. This change reduces costs for airlines, creates jobs, and makes B.C. more competitive by bringing the province in line with neighbouring jurisdictions which do not have a comparable fuel tax.
$120 million was provided in royalty credits to encourage oil and gas development in British Columbia. The Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program is designed to encourage new investments and create jobs, while improving access to natural-gas deposits and support year-round exploration and production.
Premier Christy Clark met with His Excellency Mr. Wang Qishan, Vice Premier of the State Council of China, and a delegation of senior ranking Chinese officials to strengthen ties and continue to improve cultural and trade relations between B.C. and China.
Exports to key Asian markets identified in the BC Jobs Plan were up considerably in 2011. Last year, B.C.'s exports to China increased 24 per cent, to Japan by 12 per cent, to South Korea by 45 per cent, and to India by 49 per cent. The BC Jobs Plan builds on British Columbia’s increasing trade with Asia by focusing on opening and expanding markets for B.C. goods in key markets in the Pacific Rim.
Premier Christy Clark announced British Columbia's natural gas strategy. It will be established on a foundation of four priorities for long-term economic prosperity: market diversification, job creation, leadership in clean energy, and refining our self-sufficiency policy. Development of liquefied natural gas is expected to generate approximately $20 billion in new private sector investment.
The B.C. Government invested $550,000 over three years to help the B.C. silviculture industry develop new human resource strategies to meet the challenges of a changing labour market.
Sun Peaks, the newest member of the Province's Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI), received $470,000 today to boost tourism, increase investment, and create jobs. 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan' identifies tourism as a vital economic sector to the province's growth.
Labour market research released in January showed BC Hydro's Northwest Transmission Line will be an economic catalyst for northwest B.C. The area, which is currently not part of the grid, will be host to the development of mines, power projects, and other resource projects that will help fuel B.C.'s economy. In total, projects in northwest B.C. could create about 5,700 jobs between 2011 and 2021. The government remains committed to bringing jobs to the northwest region of the province.
The B.C. government invested $700,000 to help forest companies create jobs by turning their waste wood into high-value bio-products. The funds will address many of the recommendations from government's Bio-Economy Committee that calls on the province to develop the bio-economy, which caters to both strengthening the province's economy and safeguarding the environment.
B.C. experienced its second consecutive year of rising mineral exploration expenditures in 2011. The 'Canada Starts Here: BC's Job Plan' commitment to expand nine mines and open eight additional mines by 2015, is expected to create about 1,800 new and sustain more than 5,000 jobs because of longer mine lives.
The provincial government granted an environmental assessment certificate for the proposed Nahwitti Windfarm Project located on Vancouver Island. Once completed, the $280 million project is expected to create 350 person years of full-time direct employment. During operations, the proposed project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 165,000 tonnes annually.