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Premier Clark launches job plan with $15 million for Prince Rupert port

Premier Christy Clark's much anticipated jobs strategy launched this morning with an announcement that the province will contribute $15 million to a project at the port of Prince Rupert.

"We are on the Pacific edge of this country," Clark said in a speech that dwelt on using B.C.'s geographical advantages. "We are facing Asia. We are facing the future."

The project includes, according to a government background document, "three inbound and two outbound tracks for coal, potash and other bulk terminal developments, two additional tracks that form a loop around the main part of Ridley Island and one new track that extends off the rail loop towards Ridley Terminals."

The Canadian National Railway and the Prince Rupert Port Authority will each contribute $30 million, while the federal government is still deciding on a $15 million contribution. The total budget for the project is $90 million and is predicted to create 570 direct jobs.

Clark said developing the port will help move goods such as coal and lumber from across B.C. and grain from the prairies to Asia. "This port is jobs," she said, equating the "families first" slogan she campaigned on with creating jobs. "As premier I'm dedicated to opening those markets."

Clark said she will be making an announcement later today in Kitimat related to liquid natural gas exports. The plan is to have three terminals in place by 2020, with the first operational by 2015.

She said she will formally outline her jobs plan on Thursday, but that it focuses on expanding markets for B.C. products, strengthening the province's infrastructure and "working with employers and communities to enable job creation."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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