Northern Business Notes

Employment in British Columbia rose slightly (+0.5 per cent, seasonally adjusted) in December

EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS

Employment in British Columbia rose slightly (+0.5 per cent,  seasonally adjusted) in December, following back-to-back declines in  each of the two previous months. However,  due to an expansion in the number of people  looking for work (+0.4 per cent), the province’s unemployment rate ended the year unchanged  from the previous month, at 7.0 per cent.

Growth in the number of part-time jobs (+1.6 per cent) was the main reason for the overall increase, with full-time employment increasing only marginally (+0.1 per cent) compared to the previous month.

PIPELINE POLL

A poll commissioned by Enbridge Inc. has found that most B.C. residents are not familiar with the proposed oil pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. north coast, but many of those who are support the idea.

In the Ipsos-Reid online survey of 1,000 B.C. residents in mid-December, four out of 10 respondents described themselves as “very familiar or “somewhat familiar” with the proposal build a twinned pipeline that would carry crude from Alberta’s oil sands to a new tanker port at Kitimat. Of those who were familiar with the project, 48 per cent supported it while 32 per cent said they are opposed.

PIPELINE WOES

A new report released by the Living Oceans Society, Pembina Institute and the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) discusses the risks associated with transporting tar sands oil through Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

The report entitled ‘Pipeline and tanker trouble’ was written by Danielle Droitsch, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz and Anthony Swift from the NRDC as well as Nathan Lemphers, senior policy analyst at the Pembina Institute and Katie Terhune energy campaign manager at the Living Oceans Society. The report documents the risks that transporting diluted bitumen poses to communities along the pipeline and tanker paths, to salmon bearing rivers and to coastal ecosystems, including the Great Bear Rainforest.

PIPELINE HEARING

The Joint Review Panel that is holding hearings into the Enbridge Northern Gateway project says there may not be eight days of hearings in Prince Rupert as originally scheduled.

The panel was to be in Prince Rupert from February 16-24, with no hearing scheduled for February 19, but a panel spokesperson said some of the intervenors scheduled to speak in Prince Rupert have requested a visit to their community instead of solely focusing on Prince Rupert.

ABORIGINAL BUSINESS INVESTMENT COUNCIL

Ellis Ross has been named chairman of the new Aboriginal Business and Investment Council. And as chairman, the Haisla Nation chief councillor will also sit on the BC Jobs and Investment Board, serving as a link between the two bodies.

Ross is a former federal Fisheries employee who has also run a log-salvage business and worked in the charter-boat industry.

The Aboriginal Business and Investment Council will work with aboriginal communities and the private sector to make recommendations to government on strategies to improve aboriginal peoples’ participation in the economy, identify successful investment models between aboriginals and the private sector, foster economic development in aboriginal communities, and increase overall investment in the province.

SALVAGE LOGGERS FEEL OVERLOOKED

Small-scale salvage loggers say they have been overlooked by Houston council and Nadina Forest District staff in discussions how to divvy up local timber licences.

Loggers with the Morice Forest Salvage Society packed the benches at Houston’s municipal hall on Jan. 3 to make their case.

Speaking for the MFSS, forester Dave Mayer told councillors that salvage loggers have a long tradition and a key role in the Morice area.

Since 2003, Mayer explained that the 12 active members of the MFSS have mostly operated using Forest Licences to Cut—one-time cuts of no more than 2,000 cubic metres of timber on land where most trees are infested by pine beetles.

Mayer asked council to amend their December letter to staff at the Nadina Forest District so that it recommends more stable type of forest licence that the MFSS could bid on—a Non-Replaceable Forest Licence.

 

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