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NEWS RELEASE · 11th February 2010
Community & Rural Development
The Province and the City of Prince Rupert have signed an agreement that will support the community's future economic development, announced Community and Rural Development Minister Bill Bennett and Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem.

"Communities First Agreements represent a new approach to economic development being piloted in various locations across B.C.," said Bennett. "These agreements give communities the opportunity to collaborate with the Province on ways to increase local economic resilience and sustainability in a meaningful way. The community identifies the priorities, and the Province commits to helping the community achieve its vision through targeted resource allocation and partnerships."

Prince Rupert has chosen six priority projects to work on with the Province under the agreement. These include improving access to Digby Island Airport and villages on the Tsimshian Peninsula; completing Phase II of the Fairview Terminal project; achieving key competencies in the areas of economic development and investment attraction, such as bridging capacity gaps and creating jobs; developing the Watson Island Pulp Mill property; identifying and remediating contaminated and brownfield sites; as well as identifying investment-ready opportunities and developing a basic investment attraction package.

"This agreement really puts the decision making in the hands of local governments, so economic development is being directed by those who know most about what's important to communities - the people who live in them," said Mussallem. "By tailoring resources to meet the needs that communities identify as priorities, the Province is assisting us to determine what we want our towns and regions to look like in the future."

It is anticipated that RuralBC Secretariat staff will work with up to 14 communities throughout the province over the next three years to develop similar Communities First Agreements (previously known as Community-Centred Agreements). Port Alberni signed an agreement with the Province in late 2009.

Announced by Premier Gordon Campbell at the 2008 Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, the RuralBC Secretariat is a vehicle to link rural communities to provincial government services.

To learn more, visit www.ruralbc.gov.bc.ca.