VANCOUVER – Premier Christy Clark unveiled the details of her jobs plan at a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon Thursday, including a target to have eight new mines in operation in B.C. by 2015.
The B.C. Jobs Plan also promises an upgrade to the Deltaport shipping facility by 2014, in addition to improvements to the Prince Rupert bulk port announced earlier in the week. Clark committed $50 million to improve the railway link to the port near the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, the first stage of a $200 million Deltaport development.
Clark also announced an additional $24 million to fund mining, water and land permit approvals and reduce the backlog for permits by the end of next year. She said the increased efficiency will not be at the expense of environmental regulations.
The commitment to add permit resources responds to one of the criticisms from NDP leader Adrian Dix.
"The premier has tried to blame regulations, environmentalists and aboriginal people," Dix said. "They've actually taken away people who work on those approvals, and they need to address those issues rather than blaming others."
The entire plan is available at a new government website, www.bcjobsplan.ca
Other targets in the plan include:
• 10 new non-treaty agreements with aboriginal groups by 2015
• $5 million for border technology and information systems by April 2012
• nine upgrades or expansions to currently operating B.C. mines
• Making B.C. one of the top two provinces in job growth and gross domestic product growth by 2015
The Vancouver announcement is the fourth in a week-long series of campaign-style stops to roll out an employment development plan that Clark is pitching as "the central mission of my job as premier."
Monday she visited Prince Rupert to announce a $90 million expansion of the Ridley Island bulk commodity port, cost shared with the federal government and CN Rail.
Tuesday in Kamloops, Clark set a target of increasing international students in B.C. by 50 per cent, with regional panels to identify the skills required for new workers.
Wednesday in Surrey, Clark announced that the B.C. government will add an extra $3 million to its small business venture capital tax credit and set up an expert panel to review business taxes.