Well, the “BC Jobs Plan regional economic investment pilot project forum” has come and gone and what have we been left with?
Well, a little window dressing for the provincial government who’ve tossed little old Campbell River a bone of attention. Now the province can feel good that they’ve tried to help us find our way out of the economic downturn we’ve found ourselves in. This way maybe people will ignore the fact that the provincial did nothing to influence the situation that lead to the loss of our major employer, the Catalyst-owned Elk Falls pulp mill. Maybe they will.
As for Monday’s forum, we need to look at it not as a blueprint for provincial initiatives but instead see it as an internal dialogue that brings together community forces that will lead to resolving the situation ourselves. We need to decide what direction our community most go. We also have to decide that all these disparate agencies in our community have to work together to bring about real change. The signs indicate that decision has been made as First Nations and local government have shown they intend to build on the success cooperation has generated in the past and ride that into the future.
We are at the mercy of provincial, national and international economic circumstances with little ability to influence them. However, we can create a climate locally that can take advantage of circumstances as they come along. If we have our house in order we can jump on opportunities with a unified and focused plan that will attract resources. Nature abhors a vacuum and if Campbell River area officials are sitting around saying “we don’t know what we want to do” then we will repel investment, rather than attract it. So, let’s be attractive…and unified.