JTS ministry making good on their commitment

as the mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

Recently the new Bridges 2 project was announced. One of the impacts of this project on communities here in the valley is that once available fibre and other wood product sources are identified they can be leveraged into regional economic opportunities.

During the last few weeks a number of investors have either visited Barriere, or contacted me to inquire about what business opportunities there are in our area. Some of their proposals depended on a source of wood in one form or another.

Forestry is an important part of the economic development potential throughout the valley. Barriere needs to have a say in how the identified wood sources are allocated and to share in the business opportunities that will come about from developing these resources. This will happen if we constantly are a part of the process driving the decisions.

By being actively involved in projects such as Bridges 2, the District of Barriere will stand a good chance to acquire partners and investors to make use of any identified wood supplies.

The economic development pilot organized by the Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training ministry (JTS) for the North Thompson and Robson corridor has been the driver for the Bridges 2 project.

The JTS ministry made a commitment to involve all communities in our region in these economic development proposals and by setting in motion the mechanics of keeping us all in the loop JTS has made good on that commitment.

Tourism is another major economic contributor here in B.C.  On Oct. 29,  the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) held the North Thompson corridor tourism workshop in Blue River.

I had the pleasure of car pooling with Connie Falk, Lower North Thompson Tourism Society chairperson, Lorne Richardson, Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce manager, Leslie Groulx, CAO for Clearwater, Jon Kreke, Deputy Mayor Clearwater, and last but not least Myles Bruns, Area Manager for JTS. Mr. Bruns kindly drove us all up and back.

The workshop was indeed well attended with a blending of tourism operators, local government, First Nation leaders and other stake holders. The intent was to put forth the new focus that TOTA has taken around developing a sub-regional tourism development plan.

During the workshop, the statistics of tourism in our area were presented, identifying who our competition for tourist dollars is, and ways to promote tourism in our region. It was quite interesting to see who comes to our area and what they look for once they arrive. The next step will be to gather the needed information to create what TOTA sees as the experiential tourism plan for the valley.

Barriere is well placed to become one of the focal points for the North Thompson Valley tourism experience. The recent developments around Agri-tourism events held here in Barriere will further cement our place in the tourism arena. Given that tourism is by far the largest generator of income in the province, it makes sense that we strive to get our piece of the pie.

Barriere is a great place to live. The opportunity to live in a safe and welcoming community is a major draw to those starting to a raise a family, as well as those looking for a more relaxed rural lifestyle.

It appears though, that there is an element in our midst that do not understand how important it is for all of us to help build on the image of our community. Vandalism and petty theft are crimes and need to be stopped.

Vandalism is not unique to Barriere. It happens most everywhere. That does not make it acceptable in the least.

The smashing of windows, lights and planters costs the local taxpayers thousands of dollars.  Dollars that could be better spent developing programs for youth and facilities for recreation.

Last weekend the new large stop sign at the three-way stop intersection of Barriere Town Road, Dunn Lake Road and Barriere Lakes Road was stolen. This sign is the biggest stop sign I have ever seen. It is really easy to recognize.

If anyone knows were it is, please come forward.

Vandalism is not fun,  nor is it funny to anyone that has been a victim.

We all need to work together to stop vandalism.