The New Prosperity federal review panel report has been submitted to the Minister of Environment, and it outlines both environmental concerns and recommendations, including options for mitigating those concerns.
It’s very important to remember that we are still in a process, and the federal cabinet has the final say, which is due in 120 days.
The city’s position has always been that we support the mine as long as provincial and federal environmental standards are met, and First Nations are adequately consulted.
We all want opportunities for growth, jobs, and economic development, but we want to the project to be an example of responsible mining. We have to balance jobs with environmental concerns, especially in light of recent mill closures and other economic damage from the mountain pine beetle and recession. I’m looking forward to attending a panel discussion called Resourcing Prosperity: Sustainable Natural Resources with other elected officials and business leaders during the British Columbia Business Summit taking place next week. Williams Lake is a great example of a community dependent on natural resources, but also looking to diversify the economy. We need to find ways to get to “Yes” on resource projects like New Prosperity. Just as importantly, we need to move from confrontation to conversation when opportunities like this arise.
More great news on the training front as Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk announced almost $381,000 for 96 skills foundation program seats at TRU Kamloops and Williams Lake for students who want to learn a trade. Providing training close to home will help us address our trades shortage, and provide residents with the skills they need to succeed.
We will all have the chance to watch some great hockey and showcase our city when we host the Coy Cup next March at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex. The Stampeders will have a home crowd cheering them on as they defend their title in the four-team format. I can’t wait!
Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.