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Category Archives: Resource Based Economy

Can resources lift Zimbabwe’s economy? – New Zimbabwe.com

Posted: May 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm

HAVE Zimbabweans become so myopic that they expect a miraculous return to economic prosperity in the post-President Robert Mugabe era? There seems to be a common misconception amongst us Zimbabweans that replacing the current government will suddenly turn the country into a bread basket again.

Granted, political instability, corruption and erroneous policy execution by government in recent years have left the country in a ravaged state with poor economic growth prospects. But does the absence of corruption and political instability guarantee a return to the kind of economic prosperity often promised by opposition politicians?

Indeed, a salient fact often muted from national economic debate is how exactly the country would position itself for competitiveness in the global economy post attaining stability. Zimbabwe is endowed with vast natural resources, but so are many other countries in the world. How the country produces, consumes and trades with other nations has important implications on the overall value we ultimately extract from our resources.

It is a fallacy to boast about natural resources in isolation in a globalised world where the factors of production land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship have been internationalised. The often-cited beacons of successful extractive industry based economies Canada, Australia and Norway all have a considerable grip on all factors of production, not just the free resource (land).Good institutions have played a key part, but crucially they have not let resource dependence undermine their long run economic growth.

What is often ignored about these countries are the underlying equally large-sized home grown technology, engineering and financial services sectors, which play an even bigger role in building cross-sector synergies and consequently their national competitive advantage.

One of the reasons why many African countries fail to negotiate better deals for their mining sectors is that they often only bring one component of the four factors of production to the table.That places them in a weak and often exploitative relationship.

Take a simplified case of a copper mine in Zambia, for example.The Zambian government offers the mine (land); Rio Tinto finances the development of the mine (foreign capital) and, of course, runs the project as a multi-national company (foreign entrepreneur).

Now Rio Tintos strategic decisions are run from the headquarters of the Anglo Australian company (skilled labour) relegating Zambia to supplying mainly operational, semi-skilled and unskilled labour.Further, the mine itself is capitalised with property, equipment and technology from foreign firms. Financing facilities are meanwhile arranged by foreign institutions in London or New York.

The major economic benefits therefore come down to royalties and taxes, of-course, but also low value non-sophisticated operational activities.It is a vicious cycle indeed; repeat this process over many years and it is apparent why some resource-rich countries are perennially impoverished.Meanwhile, other countries with no natural resources such as Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea continue to thrive economically.

In Africa, Botswana is often cited as a perfect template on how natural resources should be managed, but what exactly has driven their success?Under the Debswana model, De Beers and the Botswana government have equal equity in the venture.Careful analysis shows that the successes of the venture have historically hinged on good governance and effective government priorities aided by a small population more than the merits of the deal itself.

Patience has been a key part of Botswanas tactics.It has taken nearly half a century for Botswana to become an equal equity partner in the venture and to bargain for some limited technology transfer and value-added services as well as some human capital development in the form of select higher skilled jobs being domiciled in the country.

Botswanas weak bargaining position emanated from offering just one component of the four factors of production in negotiations.To renegotiate a better deal, Botswana leveraged the fact that their mines are globally among the highest quality and low cost to operate, their long relationship with De Beers and of course their relatively stable political climate.

Similarly, Zimbabwe will need to offer a well-crafted unique value proposition to negotiate favourable deals, otherwise benefits will remain limited. This is not insurmountable, but remains opaque at the moment.

Another hyped policy decision is on beneficiating minerals to manufacture value-added products. It is no coincidence that most of the beneficiation of minerals takes place in the developed world closer to markets where the final products are consumed. The underlying economic principle being that it is more cost efficient to transport low value added products than to transport high value finished goods.

Global supply chain networks have thus been established based on that principle with huge cost implications of tinkering with those mature value chains. To business executives, a decision to establish a refinery in a specific country is seldom political, but justified by commercial viability and pragmatism.

Multi-national mining companies are often faced with making choices on refineries locations. In that respect, Zimbabwe will compete with other industrial hubs in China, India and elsewhere. The infrastructure challenges Africa face such as energy generation capacity, the absence of adequate transport systems and dilapidated rail networks in most cases render such projects uncompetitive, particularly when the final products are intended for export.

In the absence of vibrant domestic or regional consumption, significantly expanding mining value-added manufacturing capacity appears a long-term aspiration rather than something that can be realistically achieved in a few years.

So, what will ensure that Zimbabwe does not fall into recurring strategic pitfalls where resources perpetually benefit foreigners ahead of local communities? Clearly, political stability, curbing corruption and good institutions are crucial initial steps.Beyond that, however, the strategies articulated by most political parties, lack depth and clarity on how they will counter the market forces stacked against our negotiation capabilities in the global context.

It appears constrained capital availability is the easy excuse to accept the status quo and to offer better concessions to foreign firms.That certainly is a recipe for more frustration amongst locals as that will lead to unfulfilled promises.

The nation needs to dig deeper; without carefully thought out structural reforms that tip factors of production in our favour supported by coherent cross-sector long term strategic goals, harnessing the full benefits of our natural resources will remain an unfulfilled dream.

About the Author: Hopewell Mauwa is an economic analyst and global natural resources strategist based in London. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted on hopewell.mauwa@cantab.net

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Alexandre Lemille: "Rethinking and redesigning our economic model based on the constant reuse of our extracted … – CleanTechnica

Posted: May 7, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Published on May 7th, 2017 | by The Beam

May 7th, 2017 by The Beam

The Beam interview series, edition 35: Alexandre Lemille

CleanTechnica keeps on publishing some of The Beam interviews and opinion pieces twice a week. The Beam magazine takes a modern perspective on the energy transition, interviewing inspirational people from around the world that shape our sustainable energy future.

This week, Anne-Sophie Garrigou, journalist at The Beam, interviewed Alexandre Lemille, a promoter of the Circular Economy who believes that shifting our economies is not only good for the environment, but equally so for businesses and the people.

Hello Alexandre and thank you for your time! What is your definition of Circular Economy and why are we talking about Circular Economy 2.0?

The Circular Economy is the understanding of the eco-systemic metabolisms leading to the abundance of flows. Put simply, we should be imitating natural cycles as closely as possible. For instance, natural photosynthesis is efficient and available in abundance. Applied to our daily needs in energy, finding a technology that replicates photosynthesis using biological elements could replace all our needs for energy supplies for, for instance, the highly polluting photovoltaic solutions we use today. Circular Economy is about finding new pockets of growth within our environmental boundaries in the constant re-value of the already extracted resources we have today. And we have enough of them! This is mainly a matter of rethinking the way we grant access so that all of us can keep enjoying life for the many generations to come.

The Circular Economy 2.0 builds on the Circular Economy. Yet it considers that poverty is also an externality of our wrongly designed economic system. Like waste, poverty does not exist in nature. Like waste in the Circular Economy, poverty should also be designed out using the same Circular Thinking approach. Circular Economy 2.0 suggests that the social dimension should be a critical part of what is considered our next economic model. We understand the cost of a waste economy. The cost of an unequal economy is also huge. The top three Global Risks 2017 of the World Economic Forum are all about this: inequality, social divides and job losses. Lets not replicate the same mistakes of our linear world!

Why should we consider that shifting to a more Circular Economy is a real modernization of our standard economy?

In recent years we have realized that our world is not only finite, but that we are reaching its limits far quicker than expected. Rethinking and redesigning our economic model based on the constant reuse of our extracted resources is a definite modernization and positive evolution from our standard economy. Endless fossil resources and exponential growth only exist in an industrial world we invented over one hundred years ago. The solution lies in the understanding of the value of our stock of materials, and how one can reuse these materials keeping their value at an all time high. This would lead to less CO2 emitted, less extractive activities, less energy required to transform our products and use them, more value on unused resources we call waste today, more value on forests as our stock of oxygen, more value on the preservation of our soils to feed more people, and so on. This is a definite advancement in the history of human beings.

What are the main benefits of this economical transformation?

The main benefits are first for the businesses themselves. Corporate risks are coming from many angles, but mainly its the access to the raw materials needed to manufacture goods. The challenge that businesses face is that we are either running out of some of the critical underground resources which will lead to a surge in prices for the years to come, or they are available but we should plan to keep them under the ground, unless we face the risk of going beyond the 2 degree threshold by the end of this century. Thus, providing a business strategy to increase business resilience while preserving our environmental services is the biggest benefit of this economy.

A first expectation is to see a constant drop in the CO2 emissions during this century while addressing the economic needs of more people on the planet. A second expectation is to release the pressure on our resource dependencies. The more a market grows, the more resources are needed. With the Circular Economy we will aim at decoupling this economic growth from the constant need for more resources.

Lastly, job creation. A Circular Economy could create many jobs if we design it properly. An economy where most unused resources are incinerated. As is often the case in developed markets, we only create one job for every 10,000 tons of goods produced. In an economy of the reuse of materials, the potential is rather 296 jobs. This is nearly a ratio of 300 times more jobs. In an advanced Circular Economy scenario there is potential for far more jobs. Given in a maintenance economy manpower is preferred over extracting activities which is relying on enormous amount of energies the cost of such economy valuing manpower will be cheaper to the end consumers.

We all know that renewable energy is shaping the clean global economy of the future, but could you explain why and how essential the role of the Circular Economy is in this process?

Developing clean energies is much needed. But if we do not adapt our consumption patterns in parallel to this, we will be constantly running behind with our reliance on renewable energies. Our industries are based on a throughput model where economies of scale need to be reached to reduce costs, and product designs are made on the assumptions that fossil fuels are available endlessly. Using renewable energies in such context will not sustain itself, unless we redesign our products, services and the way they are either used or consumed with these new sources of energies at their core.

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Tags: Alexandre Lemille, circular economy

The Beam The Beam Magazine is a quarterly print publication that takes a modern perspective on the energy transition. From Berlin we report about the people, companies and organizations that shape our sustainable energy future around the world. The team is headed by journalist Anne-Sophie Garrigou and designer Dimitris Gkikas. The Beam works with a network of experts and contributors to cover topics from technology to art, from policy to sustainability, from VCs to cleantech start ups. Our language is energy transition and that's spoken everywhere. The Beam is already being distributed in most countries in Europe, but also in Niger, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Japan, Chile and the United States. And this is just the beginning. So stay tuned for future development and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Medium.

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The R word sounds sour note in B.C.’s Northeast – BOE Report (press release)

Posted: at 11:49 pm

Tyler Kosicks family has been in the trucking business up north for decades and its fair to say hes heard some pretty salty language in his day. But theres one word floating around this election campaign that sounds particularly foul to him and a lot of other folks in communities with resource-based economies.

Thats the R word.

R in this case stands for review and when its coupled with oil and gas subsidies in the NDP platform, well its like dropping an F-bomb in front of your grandmother.

And the problem with the New Democrats, far as Kosicks concerned, is theyve embarrassed granny more than once.

The NDP dont understand that if you dont have a strong economy and you dont incentivize people to actually get out there and explore, manufacture, provide services, if theyre not viable, then you dont have the tax revenue, you dont have the jobs and you dont have everything that feeds back into those public coffers and you end up going the other direction and taking on more public debt as a province, says Kosick.

Weve seen that in the past and it doesnt work.

The NDP policy plank that commits the party to a review of oil and gas subsidies should it form government may play well in urban areas, but its like lighting a match to see where the gas leaks coming from in B.C.s energy patch. Locals like Kosick dont like it. Resource industry investors hate it. Theyve invested billions of dollars in long-term investments based on the current set of rules. Reviewing those rules with an eye to what many see as the NDPs ardent wish to kill those subsidy programs will have potentially dire consequences.

Who will bear those dire consequences? Average workers, including unionized employees. Some of the Canada Pension Plans largest investments are with the dividend-churning companies in the national oil and gas sector. The same is true of the BC Investment Management Corporation that manages the futures of countless union resource retirees.

In contrast, the BC Liberal platform promises to continue to provide incentives for producers drilling deep wells for natural gas to ensure our natural gas reserves are developed economically.

Fiddling with subsidies while the oil patch burns would also have a direct impact on Kosicks home town of Fort St. John, especially if the NDP subsidy review puts the brakes on programs like the one supporting shoulder season drilling.

We had a winter rush and the rest of the year was slow, says Kosick. So the government introduced this program to help them keep going year-round, which definitely helped business and more so for labour.

By expanding the drilling season, communities like Fort St. John saw fewer transient workers and more year-round workers who moved into town, keeping their money in their new homes. Mess with that and what will happen?

If theres no incentive for the producers to work year-round, then the communities could suffer as we go back to a transient work force, says Kosick.

Subsidies also encourage companies to find new ways to reduce carbon emissions. The current BC Clean Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program has resulted in 13 methane-reduction programs. Kosick thinks thats a better approach than imposing restrictions on the oil and gas industry like the carbon tax.

Why cant we look at subsidizing energy companies to incentivize them to do that (reduce emissions) as opposed to imposing carbon taxes? he says.

Why not say, Heres some subsidies and by 2025 or 2030, this is the model we want to see in place, you have until then to do it, and were going to help you with these subsidies. But instead, they carbon tax.

Kosick believes that any money saved by scrapping oil and gas subsidies wouldnt end up back in the Northeasts communities.

The NDP always source out ways to keep more money in the government coffers to be able to fund their ideology and fund their social programs, he says.

I think a lot of that (NDP policies) is to appease their southern votes.

Its enough to make a body use the R word.

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Hemp business hopes to boost local economy – The News Center

Posted: at 11:49 pm

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - National Business Week celebrates the contributions of small business owners across the country. In Parkersburg, a new business hopes to introduce a different resource to the area's economy.

J. Morgan Leach and his business partner turned their fascination with industrial hemp into a business called "Hemp Picks." They sell hemp-based products such as food, oils, protein, supplements, and even apparel.

The business has been based out of Point Park Marketplace in Parkersburg for its first weeks of operation.

Leach believes industrial hemp could potentially be an asset to the area.

"Our goal is to educate society about all of the history and heritage that we have with industrial hemp," he said.

"This is a time where West Virginia is struggling and so we really need new industry and I think that hemp can really be a big part of that."

The products are sold online at https://www.hemp-picks.com/.

National Small Business Week ran from April 30 to May 6.

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Woodland economy program under fire – The Recorder

Posted: May 6, 2017 at 3:34 am

The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnerships aim is to enhance the economic development and preservation of privately owned woodland in 21 towns in the area.

But the 3-year-old joint effort by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission with Franklin Land Trust faces criticism as it advances legislation for state designation and potentially state and federal funding.

With a public information session on that legislation Tuesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Berkshire East ski lodge in Charlemont, the partnership faces leafleting, picketing and a campaign to encourage the Legislature to defeat the bill.

The partnership of towns from Leyden, Shelburne and Conway westward to the New York State line describes itself as working to increase economic development related to forestry and natural-resource-based tourism, support forest conservation on private lands and use of sustainable forestry practices and improve fiscal stability and sustainability of the towns.

Yet a Leverett-based group, Mass. Forest Rescue, focused on one of the projects 11 key elements: Promotion of forestry, forestry-related manufacturing, and/or research for new technologies related to forest-based products ...

Beth Adams of the self-described collaborative campaign to protect and restore Massachusetts forests, has described House Bill 2932, submitted by Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, as a fraudulent bill, which seeks to reach its goal by deceptive means. Her handout depicts the partnership as a Trojan Horse and notes that while the bill never mentions wood heat or wood energy, a project description mentions wood heat 26 times and pellets 40 times.

Franklin Regional Planning Director Margaret Sloan said, Its hard to understand how theyre interpreting this. She adds, The project has always been a compilation of different ideas from community members raised at 50 public meetings held throughout the project area of 11 western Franklin County and 10 Berkshire County towns.

A state-sponsored study of a community-scale wood pellet manufacturing plant that could make use of low-grade wood from private woodlots is under way by the University of Massachusetts Clean Energy Extension, looking at potential demand for wood heating for municipal buildings and other large-scale users around the heavily wooded towns, including the impact on air emissions from high-efficiency wood-burning equipment, plus the economic feasibility and environmental effects.

Completion of those studies has been delayed, Sloan said, but one done for the state Department of Energy Resources a year ago found that if there were a wood-pellet factory, it could draw on an estimated supply of 193,000 tons of low-grade green wood that could be sustainably harvested from privately owned woodland around the region.

Sloan says these are merely feasibility studies, and wood burning is just one part of a broader effort that could bring a U.S. Forest Service demonstration center for sustainable woodlot-management and forestry practices as well, as driver of tourism.

Its a very cutting-edge study being done by UMass to evaluate air emissions from energy-efficient wood heat and oil, she said, including monitoring of air-quality over two heating seasons.

Adams has written to the Legislatures Energy, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee criticizing a wasteful spending bill that sets up a $6 million fund with a control board largely consisting of special interests, while worsening climate change for all of us.

But Sloan points out no money has been projected for a pellet-making plant, nor is there any decision to go ahead with one. The business plan for a partnership, which would require a vote by affected towns to join after a bill passes, focuses around conservation restrictions, forestry business grants, municipal grants and establishing a visitor-research-marketing center.

COG Executive Director Linda Dunlavy said Adams comparison of the partnership to a now-defunct commercial-scale biomass project proposed for Greenfield is like apples and oranges.

She acknowledged that a state program to help schools like Hawlemont and Sanderson Academy replace inefficient oil furnaces with wood-fired boilers was admittedly kind of bad timing. This isnt related to that but if you were trying to find a link, your brain could make that leap.

Berkshire Regional Planning Assistant Director Thomas Matuszko said, The wood heat is very much a secondary aspect of this project. The broader long-term impact will be by good forest management, by the recreational benefits coming out of this and having stronger locally based businesses.

Dunlavy added, The towns see this as an opportunity to get some technical assistance and resources for some of the most distressed communities in our region, as a way to support the rural economy and preserve forests.

Still, Adams writes in one of her fliers, One feature exposing the Partnership as unsustainable is the unacknowledged collateral biodiversity destabilization and losses, which occur as the result of every logging operation and would worsen prospects for a healthy future for humans.

Arthur Schwenger of Heath, a partnership advisory committee member, says, A lot of people like wilderness, and theyd rather not touch anything, but at the present time, most of our forests, other than those that are in the National Park System, are managed one way or another. Were not talking of tearing all the forests down and burning them up. A lot of the objections are based on potential and fears. To be realistic, you have to back off from the extreme fears and talk about whats real and whats actually happening in the long-run. This woodlands partnership seems to be just that: trying to figure out where we are now, what are good practices, what are bad practices, and how can we best utilize the woodlands that we do have so they are sustainable.

On the Web:

bit.ly/2n1WyVR

bit.ly/2ptToyc

http://www.massforestrescue.org

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The Progress Toward Sustainability | HuffPost – Huffington Post – Huffington Post

Posted: at 3:34 am

The integration of economic development, modern management and environmental protection created the field of sustainability management. The effort to ensure that humans could continue to benefit from the miracle of this planet, and increase the distribution of those benefits to all of humanity is well underway. In some sense, it is a race against time as we learn how to reduce the impact of economic development on the planets ecological systems. Some environmental damage is irreversible, and in some cases remediation is extremely expensive. While the damage continues, I also see progress and I believe the momentum behind sustainability will increase. Human ingenuity, changing global culture and the health impacts of environmental destruction are factors that are leading to progress in the transition to a sustainable economy.

Population pressure continues to increase, but we now know that economic development brings declining birth and death rates and that in some developed nations, such as the United States, population would be shrinking without immigration. In developed countries, such as Japan, where immigration is rare, population is shrinking. While our society is aging, people are living longer, more productive and healthier lives. As the world develops, poverty decreases, and population begins to stabilize. While no one can predict the future, it is possible to foresee the end of the era of massive population growth.

We are also learning to apply technology to enable economic growth without increased levels of pollution. As I noted in a piece I wrote in late February:

A typical response I receive to this fact is that we must have exported all our dirty industry and that is why we could achieve this result. However, most air pollution comes from motor vehicles and power plants, and the outputs of those sources have grown, while technology has reduced their production of pollution.

We are also learning how to live more sustainable lifestyles. Weve replaced trips to the mall with trips to the gym. We are using bikes more, walking more, smoking less, and paying more attention to what we eat. Our cities are developing green infrastructure to reduce the impact of flooding on our streets and waterways. We are learning how to share autos, cabs and even homes when we travel. Young people are increasingly interested in experiences and less interested in owning stuff. More and more of our time is devoted to the low impact consumption of music, movies, news, games, social communication and anything else that appears on our smart phones. Young people think about where their food comes from and its impact on their own health and the health of other living beings.

A critically important indicator of progress is the changing attitudes of the public. This is most clearly seen in the views of young people in the developed world, but it is reflected in urban and community governance and in the changing behavior of many corporations. A recent study highlights the progress now underway:

Even as the climate deniers and fossil fuel zealots take over the federal government, industry, cities and communities are making the transition to a more efficient renewable energy based economy. This is being driven by a number of simultaneous positive developments:

Cities and companies see sustainability as a method of communicating their modernity and sensitivity to changing market and social conditions. State governments, particularly in California and New York are looking to modernize the electric grid and the business models of power utilities to permit decentralized, distributed generation of energy. They are doing this to improve the resiliency and cost of their energy systems to serve the needs of residents and businesses, but the environmental impact of smart-grids will be profound. Smart-grids will increase the use of renewables and reduce the vulnerability of our power system to natural and human made disasters.

As a management professor, one of the most promising trends I see is the deep interest of college and graduate students in learning how to integrate the physical dimensions of sustainability into routine organizational decision making and operations. Millennials are interested in energy use, healthy workplaces, water and material efficiency, and in reducing the environmental impacts of their organizations production process and of the goods and services they help create. This has not replaced other goals such as profit and market share in the private sector and accomplishment of key missions in the public sector, but it is viewed as means of achieving routine organizational goals. Just as a good accounting system facilitates organizational productivity, well-managed physical resources contribute to an organizations efficiency and effectiveness. This is a generation that is comfortable with technology and expects instantaneous access to information about everything. Cost data promotes reduced use of material resources and waste reduction. The goal of reducing environmental impact is seen as consistent with other goals and not something they need to trade off if they are to succeed.

We are in the early stages of a politics and culture built on perceptions generated via social media. These new forms of communication are used to gather people to demonstrate against injustice, but are also used to spread inaccurate accounts of people and events. The internet enabled Barack Obama to raise the funds needed to win the Presidency in 2008 and the entertainment value of Donald Trump brought TV ratings and web site clicks more typical of reality television than TV news. We live in an observed world where everyone with a smartphone is a videographer, and if people arent present to record something, cameras, drones and satellites are often available to fill in. This means that fiction can easily go viral, but so too can the images of toxics leaking into a water supply. Global warming is no hoax to people who see images of ice sheets melting; and deforestation can be seen from aerial images that are a click away. Over-fishing in our oceans in part due to Chinas growing wealth and demand is an emerging crisis that adds to the impression that we are using up the planets resources.

Young people know the planet is more crowded and that resources and opportunities are both becoming increasingly scarce. I believe that these perceptions underlie the broadly based, non-ideological drive for sustainability. While the long term political impact of the internet and constant communication is not yet clear (it brought us Obama and Trump), the facts of environmental degradation are more difficult to hide. It may be possible to deny climate change models, but orange rivers and particulate-laden skies provide simple and easy-to-understand messages.

Negative factors may motivate some of the drive toward sustainability, but I believe most of the progress is coming because a sustainable, renewable resource based life style is satisfying and positive. Sitting in a traffic jam is less fun than riding a bike. Paying less for electricity is no ones idea of suffering. A positive vision of sustainability underlies much of the progress we have made thus far, and will be of increasing importance as the transition to a renewable resource based economy gains momentum.

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MLA candidates speak to child poverty issues in Ucluelet – Westerly News

Posted: at 3:34 am

Mid-Island Pacific Rim Candidates, from left, Rob Clarke (BC Libertarian), Julian Fells (BC Conservatives), Scott Fraser (NDP incumbent), Dan Cebuliak (BC Refederation), Alicia La Rue (BC Green) and Darren DeLuca (BC Liberal). (Photo - Nora OMalley)

Six hopefuls make their pitch before May 9s provincial election.

The West Coasts six Mid Island-Pacific Rim candidates were tasked to address the issue of child poverty at the public meeting in Ucluelet last week.

According to a regional Vital Signs report released in 2016, the West Coast has one of the highest child poverty rates in the province.

The report suggests 67 per cent of residents earn less than the local living wage, which is considered $19.27 per hour.

Scott Fraser, NDP MLA running for re-election and his fourth term, said the BC NDP have created a well-studied plan to reduce poverty.

We will be raising social assistance rates for the first time in a long time by $100 a month, he said.

Also people with disabilities, well be raising that by $100.

And if you recall last year the Premier clawed back the bus passes for people with disabilities, which was, I mean, I had people with developmental disabilities coming into my office going what are we going to do? So we are going to give it back to them of course, he said.

BC Conservative candidate Julian Fell said his party would take a different approach.

You could get the same effect by reducing costs. Instead of giving everybody $100 extra, what if everybody paid $100 less rent or $100 less for their living? Instead of just throwing money at something lets see how we can subtract expense from it, Fells said.

BC Liberal candidate Darren DeLuca said the best cure for poverty is a job.

Thats what we do. We created 220,000 jobs since 2011, he said.

In a lot of ways, its about representation. If youre looking to have this economy and this region improve, I think you will have to elect a candidate thats a doer. And thats what I am. I dont have all the flowery rhetoric and I cant quote back fifteen years, but Im very much a doer. Thats why I put my name forward, DeLuca said.

BC Green candidate Alicia La Rue said she agreed with both Fraser and DeLuca.

Jobs are a big thing to us well. The BC Green Party is focusing on bringing in a new economy. Yes, resource based economy is huge here in B.C., she said.

But, you know, so is tourism and so is tech industry. Tech industry will actual pay more than resource based industry. So we are definitely focused on that as well as bringing in more renewable technologies and businesses.

The Ucluelet all-candidates meeting was moderated by Jeanne Keith-Ferris and hosted by the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce.

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Major Economic Report Shows Mitigated Mining Construction Slowdown – The Urban Developer

Posted: at 3:34 am

A2017 Economic Forecast released by Consult Australia revealed that Government investment in infrastructure has helped tomitigate against the impact of stalled mining construction.

Figures in the report for engineering, architectural and surveying consultancy firms, showed that while the share of work relating to heavy industry dropped last year below the previous decades, average [42.7% to 40.9%] work on roads and highways increased [16.3% to 19.7%] softening the impact.

Consult Australia Chief Executive Megan Motto said continued increases in population, combined with a recognised need to transition from a resource-led to knowledge-based economy, has seen governments invest in ways to efficiently connect people and products to markets through infrastructure.

This has led to a healthy pipeline of public sector projects which has in turn helped mitigate against the impact of mining construction slowdown and enabled our sector to contribute significantly towards Australias continued economic growth, she said.

The forecast produced by Australian Construction Insights covers domestic and international economic conditions, population dynamics, construction sector conditions and consulting industry forecasts up to 2021.

With historically low bond rates and triple-A credit rating increasing access for governments to finance future projects, confidence is returning and our sector has an optimistic outlook in the short term,Ms Motto said.

The report included the following highlights:

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Political promises ignore our new realities – Times Colonist

Posted: May 4, 2017 at 3:15 pm

B.C. election day is near, and I read of the looming consequences of climate change on people all over the planet.

We hear promises of jobs here, of tax cuts, of life continuing in a resource-based economy, and it just doesnt match the world anymore. It will take a concerted effort by all of us literally to weather the upcoming storms.

As communities in our province already face unprecedented floods, winds, fire, landslides, we can no longer base our decisions on simplistic promises of jobs.

The other side of the story is how technology is changing our life careers, eliminating job upon job to attain increased efficiency and profit. While our present government pushes mega-projects and self-regulation of companies, our volunteer organizations are overwhelmed with providing services for those left behind.

On May 9, beware of empty promises that are once again dragged out, dusted off and put out on the curb as the future of B.C.Our children and grandchildren are the future, and they will pay the consequences for our decisions today.

Dorothy Drubek

Courtenay

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Capital: Post-secondary schools propel region’s knowledge-based economy – Times Colonist

Posted: at 3:15 pm

In the final days of the 2017 election campaign, post-secondary education is top of mind for three MLAs from the three main political parties who are all seeking re-election.

Green Andrew Weaver, New Democrat Carole James and Liberal Andrew Wilkinson all stress the importance of the sector as an economic driver.

Weaver says that at the height of his career at the University of Victoria, he was more than a teacher, he was an employer.

I had 20 people working in my lab, said Weaver, once part of UVics School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and still considered a faculty member.

The MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head which includes UVic said that the salaries and budgets for those research workers were largely paid with money he attracted from outside Victoria.

Weaver said research grants from the federal government were often matched by the province. There was also money from international agencies, and by private industry, Canadian and international.

Weavers experience, he said, was replicated with researchers and scholars throughout the university.

Not every faculty member is going to invent a widget that everyone is going to want to buy, said Weaver. But the collective emphasis on research at the faculty level has a profound impact.

Greater Victoria is enriched by the presence of UVic, Camosun College and Royal Roads University in ways far beyond their direct local spending. Post-secondary institutions create and sustain a dynamism thats a perfect backstop to the 21st-Century knowledge-based economy.

Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson, the MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena, said its only been in the past 20 years that universities and colleges have been widely recognized as enormous community assets.

You get the student vitality, but you also get all the collateral attractions, said Wilkinson.

He said B.C. can claim 25 public universities and colleges, and all of them are competing with the best in Canada and around the world.

They are all major institutions in their respective communities, said Wilkinson. People love to host them, they love to attend them, they love to teach at them.

Universities and colleges are now recognized as major sources of cultural and economic well being, he said.

Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James said Greater Victoria also benefits from Camosun College and Royal Roads University, both filling roles in the local knowledge-based economy.

Beyond training skilled tradespeople, she said, Camosun provides contract research for companies needing problems fixed, or products or services tested.

With the Camosun Innovates program, businesses can get help from college labs, equipment and practice space. Students and instructors will work on a specific problem.

Thats a huge resource for the businesses in our community, said James, a former chairwoman of the Greater Victoria School District.

At one time, students would take university courses at college, then transfer to universities, but the movement today goes both ways.

But now, UVic students are moving to Camosun for its five degrees in business and health studies, or for practical certificates. The college says 18 per cent of its students have bachelor or even graduate degrees.

We have very practical research going on right now that is a helping businesses to succeed beyond expectations, James said. That wouldnt happen without the synergy of universities and colleges here.

James also said universities and colleges help make communities grow. People from Victoria will train for lives in Victoria, and those from outside get a sample of the Victoria experience and decide to stay.

People are just more likely to stay in a community if they were educated and trained in that community, she said.

Tony Eder, UVics executive director for resource planning, was a co-author of 2012 study that determined UVic, with its salaries, maintenance and new construction, resulted in salaries of about $584 million.

But the total economic impact money generated in the surrounding community was $3.1 billion. Today, Eder estimates UVics economic impact would exceed $4 billion.

Eder said similar benefits occur wherever universities locate.

Its such a treasure for any community to have an organization like a research institution, he said. The research that happens will lead to innovations that build economic activity in the community, the province.

Terry Cockerline, UVics director of alumni relations, said graduates regularly say they would like to stay in Victoria. Students fall in love with this place.

About 30 per cent of the students at UVic are local, and Cockerline said 30,000 of UVics 115,000 alumni are listed as living here.

He said UVic alumni are proving themselves to be solid community members. He said UVic attracts some of the best students in the world, and its graduates are people who are generally committed to giving back and contributing.

They are running not-for-profits, engaged in private enterprise, lots of entrepreneurship, government, health care. Virtually every sector of the local economy has a UVic connection, said Cockerline.

Click here for Capital magazine e-edition

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Capital: Post-secondary schools propel region's knowledge-based economy - Times Colonist

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