Prince George Mayor Simon Yu believes the city can withstand the blow of Canfor slashing 300 jobs from its pulp line at the Pulp and Paper Mill.
Yu met with Premier David Eby for the very first time yesterday (Wed) – it was a brief interaction where they discussed the support available for the displaced workers as well as the social issues plaguing downtown.
In an interview with Vista Radio, Yu says the new industry and projects that are coming to the city should more than offset what has already transpired.
“Training to turn wood fibre into diesel fuel, which is taking place right beside Intercon. We have a small hydrogen plant that we are looking to hit the ground running on right away. I can confidently say that’s 100 jobs right there. These jobs will offset some of the losses.”
“In addition, we have the warehouse being built along Boundary Road to position ourselves as a transportation hub and a future expansion of some of the warehouse activity at the airport. Things will happen in the short and near future because Prince George is just too important geographically to the entire world.”
.@CityofPG mayor Simon Yu sat down with @mypgnow to discuss how some of the 300 impacted workers from the @CanforCorp fallout can land back on their feet. #cityofpg #PrinceGeorge #northernbc pic.twitter.com/QWMPZxCgdd
— My Prince George Now (@mypgnow) January 20, 2023
Yu adds any impacted workers who have a red ticket should have no problem finding an employer, given that there is a shortage of skilled labour.
Yu estimates one-third of the displaced workers are expected to utilize the transition packages and retraining programs.
The trickle-down effect will be felt in a few different ways, but, Yu’s long-term vision for the city is quite prosperous.
“Any job loss has multiple effects. If people decide to move away and put their house up for sale, they don’t have a secure feeling for the future so they spend less on restaurants. Of course, there are multiple impacts on any job loss.”
“This is a sad day to hear that Canfor lost 300 jobs but in the long term, I hope this is just a small setback for Prince George to become a big city.”
“We have Blackwater, which is up and running and the mines up in Dease Lake – these activities also have a great impact on Prince George because they rely on Prince George as the service centre. I am very confident PG will come out of this a lot stronger,” added Yu.
Yu was one of 1,400 people who registered to attend the BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George.
After two years away due to the pandemic, he stated it was nice to rub shoulders with industry stakeholders and to see what future opportunities may exist down the line for PG.
“The energy in the room was electrifying. I saw the participants validate once more that we are a city with natural resources of global importance.”
“That continuation of this forum in Prince George is really essential not just during the forum for the local economy but for Prince George positioning itself as the centre of natural resources for the province of BC and all of Canada.”
As for when Premier Eby and his delegation will come up to PG to discuss solutions for the city’s social issues with a focus on downtown, Yu mentioned any potential dates have not been set yet and will likely emulate a roundtable discussion.