CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – North Island College has a key role to play in the transition of Northern Vancouver Island to a knowledge-based economy focused on sustainable technology, BC Liberal Party leadership candidate, Dr. Moira Stilwell, said today.
On a visit to Campbell River, Dr. Stilwell said that if she becomes the next Premier of British Columbia, she will propose a government investment of $10 million over four years in infrastructure for North Island College to develop a new technology training program.
“Campbell River is leading the way on the North Island towards an economic structure that is less reliant on resources and more focused on knowledge and renewable technology. I believe there are great opportunities to encourage the growth of new industries offering well-paid, long-term jobs,” said Dr. Stilwell.
The expansion of Campbell River airport demonstrated that the city was serious about promoting business, she said.
“Campbell River already has a talent pool of people qualified for work in various high-tech sectors. North Island College is well positioned to expand that pool by focusing on other areas of high-tech skills training such as new media and renewable energy,” said Dr. Stilwell.
She added that the BC Liberal government’s strong commitment to green energy provides opportunities for cities like Campbell River to explore the possibility of creating community power and micropower generation facilities.
“We need clean, reliable and inexpensive power in all areas of the province, and community power projects are a good way of getting there. But to do so, we will need skilled workers in those communities to develop and manage the projects. That’s where North Island College will make a valuable contribution,” said Dr. Stilwell.
New media is also an opportunity for Campbell River to explore, said Dr. Stilwell. As Premier of British Columbia, she will work with local business leaders and the organizations such as the Campbell River Creative Industry Council to find out how best to attract new investment and encourage more young people to study technology and prepare themselves for careers in high-tech and clean-tech industries.
The Campbell River Creative Industries Council is invested in generating economic development to attract and retain industries by assisting the creative sector, local organizations, educators and businesses to accelerate their projects and programs.
Joan Miller, Director Campbell River Creative Industries Council, said Dr. Stilwell’s proposal opened the door for the wide range of new opportunities.
“We would like to see Dr. Stilwell’s proposal become a reality in a facility that provides the basic infrastructure for a cluster of creative organizations all under one roof,” said Ms. Miller.
North Island College’s Director, Continuing Education and Training, Cheryl O’Connell, also welcomed Dr. Stilwell’s proposal.
“North Island College is proud to be collaborating with the Campbell River Creative Industries, various organizations and institutions to provide a substantial framework for education, mentorship and training to position the community to prosper in the global knowledge-based economy,” said Ms. O’Connell.
Dr. Stilwell has already proposed reducing the interest rate on student loans in B.C. as a step towards removing as many barriers as possible to post-secondary education in the province.
“This is in line with two of the key positions in my policy platform – building a knowledge based economy and helping low income families and individuals, which students with large debt tend to be,” said Dr. Stilwell.
The election of a new leader for the BC Liberal Party takes place on February 26, 2011.