A 2013 wish list

MLA Donna Barnett presents a wish list for 2013 in her first column of the new year

As the new year begins, I would like to take a bit of time to tell you about my hopes for 2013 as your local MLA. There are a lot of important issues in our region, and I’d like to tell you about a few of the initiatives that I would like see move forward this year.

First of all, I believe it is important that we all continue to work together to be fiscally responsible. Our province has done quite well despite the global recession. One of the big reasons for this is the fiscal restraint that our government has exercised, maintaining a triple-A credit rating and making B.C. an excellent place to invest.

Both as individuals and as a government, we need to continue this fiscal responsibility. This will help us in what I believe is one of our most important tasks, namely to boost job creation and develop industry, both at the provincial level and here in our region.

This includes the Prosperity mine, which is so important for the Cariboo in terms of jobs and economic development, and which I would like to see move forward. It’s also important that we have skilled workers to take up the new jobs being created, and so I would like to see our skills and apprenticeship programs, such as those at Thompson Rivers University, continue to grow. I believe it’s very important to educate young people and give them the skills they need to be successful in the workforce and I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Ray Sanders at TRU to support skills training programs there. I would also like to see work continue on the Cariboo Connector, which will bring many benefits to our communities. Widening and improving Highway 97 will not only increase safety and convenience for individuals and families, but will also give a boost to industry and commercial traffic, supporting our expanding economy. Finally, I’d like to see work begin on the expansion of Cariboo Memorial Hospital, which will improve care and provide many services to the residents of Williams Lake and the region.

I believe we will make a great deal of progress on these initiatives in the coming year, and I hope that we can work together as a community to see them through.