Transition team to help community move forward

Houston council is partnering with a Community Transition Team to help Houston move forward after the closure of Houston Forest Products.

Houston council is partnering with a Community Transition Team to help Houston move forward after the closure of Houston Forest Products (HFP).

Deputy Mayor Shane Brienen says that council called after the mill closure and asked for support from the Community Transition Team, a team of five provincial members to help Houston craft a plan to move forward.

The team has helped other communities like Burns Lake, Kitimat and MacKenzie move forward after facing similar situations.

“Those communities seem to be adjusting fairly well… They are doing pretty well today, and they haven’t lost a huge part of their population,” said Brienen.

Brienen said the team is there to give help and support where needed.

“They’re not here to tell us what to do, they’re here to help us. We’re going to work together, and the solution is going to come from the people of this town,” Brienen said.

Sarah Fraser, Leader of the Community Transition Team, said they have already had discussions across government to start the different ministries thinking about how they can support Houston.

The three key areas they are focusing on with Houston council are (1) worker transition, (2) economic development and diversification and (3) social services.

Discussion includes the following:

(1) Programs and opportunities for transitioning workers, including social development and advanced education.

(2) Opportunities for businesses in Houston to expand, incentives for entrepreneurs and supporting and sustaining existing business.

(3) Supporting families and helping community services maintain a vibrant community in Houston.

Fraser says they are developing working groups of Houston people and organizations, who will pull together to work on each of those three areas.

Houston council is planning a community meeting on November 16.