Federal MP Dick Harris says the federal budget has some good news for the region.
“In particular for our region there was $105 million put into developing additional trade markets for our Canadian lumber, which was a huge thing,” Harris says.
The money, he adds, will be used for innovation to help research how to extract more value out of wood fibres, not just dimension lumber or chips, but other “interesting” products that allow for the production of things like tires or indestructible protective shields.
Those trade markets are primarily offshore, especially for dimension lumber, Harris says.
“The market that’s opening up in India threatens to be bigger than China if you can imagine. I had a call today from someone I know in India and he said there’s a demand in his province in India for 100,000 houses tomorrow. He wanted me to help him get in contact with some forest product companies, so that’s what I’ll be doing over the next two weeks.”
Another plus, Harris suggests, is the investment in training and municipal infrastructure, primarily for the repair of existing infrastructure.
“If you have a municipal building in Williams Lake that’s in need of a new roof, they’ll be able to apply to this infrastructure rehabilitation fund.”
The money going into aboriginal education is an attempt to try and steer aboriginal youth into skills training that will guarantee long-term, well-paying jobs, which Harris says is a good thing.