Schools to outline vision for northwestern BC

Education, training are key as the resource economy expands

  • Tue May 22nd, 2012 7:00am
  • News

SENIOR OFFICIALS from three post secondary institutions are to provide their ideas next week about how they might fit in with the changing economic landscape of the northwest.

Rick Brouwer, of the Skeena-Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics, the local think tank sponsoring their appearance, says education of all kinds is critical if northwestern residents are to benefit from a wave of pending industrial activity.

“The key here is a sustainable economy. It’s not just large projects. It’s everything. And having these people speak about how they see their role is going to be important. I’m hoping it will start a conversation,” said Brouwer.

Speaking for 20 minutes each will be University of Northern British Columbia president George Iwami, Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute (WWNI) president Deanna Nyce and Northwest Community College vice-president Dave O’Leary.

“We’re going to have to think more and more as a region and the education sector is going to be a crucial part of the infrastructure,” said Brouwer.

“We’re going to need to be prepared for what’s coming our way.”

Brouwer said the ultimate goal is a regional  economy that is diverse enough and managed efficiently to avoid what has been a history of depending upon one industry, typically forestry in this region, and then suffering its economic downturns.

“Clearly we need to develop along parallel lines. If we’re only forestry, then we’re subject to its boom and bust. If it’s only mining, then it’s that industry’s boom and bust cycle,” he continued.

The Skeena Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics is a non-profit society looking at ways to build a “resilient and sustainable resource economy.”

It’s been a consistent advocate, for example, of adding value to the region’s forests and has hosted companies interested in developing biofuel industries.

The May 28 post-secondary speakers’ session begins at 6:30 p.m. May 28 at the Best Western Inn here.

The centre’s annual general meeting follows the presentations.