As local municipal government representatives from B.C.’s coastal communities prepare to meet in Sooke this Friday for the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) convention, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that our rural, resource-based towns and communities have little in the way of economic diversity and rely largely on fishing, mining, forestry, coal and gas.
In fact, the mayors and councillors attending the AVICC convention will be considering a resolution on mining; a re-emerging industry that will have a positive effect on all of our communities. Mining now contributes over $9-billion to B.C.’s economy, and exploring for mineral deposits is a major source of safe, sustained economic activity for rural communities and the families who live in them.
The mining industry in B.C. is responsible for 45,700 permanent jobs and generated over $930-million in government tax revenue last year, including $74-million generated directly for local municipalities. And over the next 10 years it is estimated that new growth in mining and exploration will require 17,000 new workers.
Mining provides some of the highest paying jobs in B.C., and Vancouver Island is geologically wealthy.
I therefore urge the mayors and councillors attending the AVICC convention to support mining and exploration in B.C. The jobs this industry creates in B.C. will keep our children and grandchildren close to home supporting local small businesses and strengthening our communities for generations to come.