I had the great opportunity to be invited to join the B.C.’s Premier on her trade mission to Asia this fall. Working on our 2014 budget once again makes it very clear how important it is to promote the use of our industrial lands to generate industrial tax dollars.
Without these taxpayers, the burden of running the municipal government falls heavily upon the residential sector. The attraction of industry also generates good-paying jobs here at home. The creation of more jobs based in Squamish will reduce the number of our people heading down the highway every day.
We have been suffering since we lost the Woodfibre pulp mill, so I was very pleased to have the proposed LNG plant conducting feasibility and environmental studies. They have presented their introduction to council and will schedule public open houses in the New Year. If the project goes ahead, we would see local employment, industrial taxes and the cleanup of the old, contaminated pulp mill site.
While I was in China with the Premier, I had the opportunity to visit the receiving terminal in Rudong where they have built a manmade island in the East China Sea to receive LNG. I was also able to visit a paper mill that belongs to the same parent company. The capital investment in these projects is astounding and they are clean, efficient, well-run operations that are built to be environmentally responsible.
The growth and demand for power in China’s major cities are massive. They have a serious air quality problem that they are now recognizing must be addressed and they are looking to LNG as part of the solution.
In addition to investigating the operations of the China side of the LNG story, I had the opportunity to attend several networking sessions hosted by our provincial government. These were amazing opportunities to promote the attributes of Squamish. There were more than 400 delegates in attendance, many of whom were interested in the great investment opportunities in our town. There are several who are specifically interested in our unused B.C. Rail industrial lands and would add to our industrial tax base and significant numbers of local jobs. Others that had not heard of Squamish were interested in what an amazing community we have with our fantastic lifestyle, the great outdoors, tourism opportunities, Quest University, the port, rail, industrial lands and highway to Vancouver.
I believe this trip was a rare opportunity and well worth taking advantage of to drive our economic development initiatives forward.