Rallying for our future

I was pleased to see business and industry leaders rally behind the New Prosperity Mine last week in Vancouver.

I was pleased to see business and industry leaders rally behind the New Prosperity Mine last week in Vancouver, though weather conditions prevented me from joining them.

The intent was to send a strong message to the federal government about the importance of this $1.5 billion dollar project.

The group included the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Williams Lake and Quesnel Chambers of Commerce, Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook, and my colleague Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett, who then travelled to Ottawa to bring our message forward.

This mine means so much to the Cariboo.

It means 700 construction jobs before operation even begins.

It means 500 full-time direct jobs, and 1280 indirect jobs once the mine is up and running.

These are great, family-supporting jobs for the 17-year life of this project. It also means training opportunities for our young people and an economic boost to our Cariboo communities that have been hit hard by the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

There are also environmental considerations to keep in mind.

It’s important to note that we have the technology and expertise for open-pit mining in British Columbia.

We can address environmental concerns and still make this project a reality, to the benefit of our rural communities.

The Prosperity Mine is one project we can stay focused on with optimism as we look ahead to 2014.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year.

Stay safe, and close to the ones you love this holiday season!

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.