Nathan Cullen

Nathan Cullen economic forum comes to Fort St. James

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen met with public from the Fort on Saturday, February 12 to hear what economic ideas to take back to Ottawa.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen met with public from the Fort on Saturday, February 12 to hear what economic ideas to take back to Ottawa.

Cullen hosted an informal session in which he got attendees to participate in a problem-solving activity and then break into groups to brainstorm economic priorities for him.

The innovative format he developed himself because he had been “to so many public meetings that are so boring,” said Cullen.

The breakout groups were asked to look at some positive things in the local and regional economies which could use some help or support from government.

The idea, according to Cullen, was that “people want to see the government as a better partner” and he believes people have the ideas for opening up local opportunities and he wanted to give them a chance to voice them.

Groups were told to put forward a couple specific suggestions related to both current and future economic issues on both a local and regional level.

There were ten people at the session to put forward ideas and issues relating to the economy.

After extensive discussion, the groups came back to Cullen with the local current priorities of developing a local, skilled workforce within the community, encouraging mining and exploration and restoring lost social services in the community.

They suggested internet access infrastructure as a future local issue, as well as appropriate infrastructure to develop community as well as working on First Nations issues such as land claims and strategic joint ventures.

Regional suggestions included education again to develop skilled workers, using biomass for energy (co-generating plants)and improving transportation networks, both trains and highways.

Mayor Sandra Harwood was at the meeting and liked how Cullen got to hear from all sectors of the community.

“I really found it stimulating,” said Harwood.

She felt one of the key messages was helping to develop economic potential by reducing red tape, coordinating between the provincial and federal and making applications more timely.

“I hope that he takes them back and advocates for us at the federal level,” said Harwood.