PREMIER Christy Clark speaks with a trades student during a tour of Northwest Community College in Terrace today.

Wait until after election, Clark says of college trades centre plea

Northwest Community College wants $45 million for Terrace campus

B.C. PREMIER Christy Clark says any discussion of a Northwest Community College proposal for $45 million to build a new trades training centre at its Terrace campus is going to have to wait until after the May 14 provincial election.

Clark was in Terrace and Kitimat today, promoting various government jobs and training initiatives and doing some early election campaigning.

At a luncheon hosted by the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce she told the audience that the resource boom underway in the northwest “will be the start of the northern renaissance.”

The college had requested $45 million to help it meet an anticipated need for skilled workers and to modernize facilities dating back to the 50s.

Impressed by a tour of the college’s trades shop, Clark told communications director Phil Saunders afterwards that “after today I’d say you’re halfway there.”

She did say the government would give the college $465,000 this year for specific job training programs.

NWCC president Denise Henning said this money was “absolutely vital to our school. Right now we are having trouble keeping up with demand.”

“There are two legs to this stool,” Clark said of the larger request for $45 million. “You have to create the jobs which we are doing and then we have to train British Columbians up to be first in line for these jobs.”

During the tour Clark paused for photo ops in front of training simulators, an industrial grader and tractor trailers which were purchased by the college with a previous grant of $3 million from the Liberal government announced last November.

Clark also introduced Skeena Liberal candidate Carol Leclerc to the sold out luncheon which was held at the Bavarian Inn.

At the luncheon, Clark spoke of her preference for liquefied natural gas (LNG) over crude oil.

“On LNG there’s a lot of First Nations participation already,” Clark said, adding that “the product is easier to move and the environmental impacts are small … it will offset more toxic energy sources.”

The $7.9 billion Site C hydroelectric dam proposed for the Peace River is necessary in order to provide electrical power to the north’s natural gas industry, Clark said.

Clark’s speech was followed by a short presentation by BC Construction Association president Manley McLachlan which runs a job match program with the financial help of the provincial government.

The association recently received $6.8 million to train unemployed people and then place them in construction jobs.

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