Communities and the value of research

One of the biggest topics around the province these days is the shortage of skilled labour. It seems to be the most-talked-about issue in the provincial election campaign and is generally understood to be the greatest constraint on economic development in northern BC. The issue is complex, for sure, and is intertwined with data related to demographic change (and an overall decline in working-age people in many parts of the province), individual aspirations for careers, and the availability of accessible and affordable educational programs. The topic of “research” is rarely mentioned in the same breath as skilled labour shortages, but I’ve recently been reminded about its importance to the North, regional communities, and economic development.

Last week, I was in Quesnel for the annual replica hermes belt meeting of the North Central Local Government Association, which attracts mayors, councilors, regional district directors, and senior city administrators to discuss issues of concern around the region. They have a long history with UNBC. In fact, the idea of UNBC was first endorsed by this group in the late 1980s and they were also the first government organization to support the establishment of the Northern Medical Program.

I facilitated hermes h belts a session on the environmental effects of resource development during the annual NCLGA convention in Quesnel. Photo by Teann Ingram.

In Quesnel, a key topic was how communities could prosper in the new resource economy. I was part of a small group that organized a workshop on day 1 of the convention to explore how communities could find balance when weighing the risks and benefits associated with resource development. The session was set up in “world café” style, where participants moved from table to table, contributing their ideas on how increased resource development would affect the environment and the social, cultural, and economic sustainability of their communities. I facilitated the discussion related to impacts on the environment and aimed to gather ideas from these local government officials about how communities could be part of ensuring environmental sustainability while they pursued economic development opportunities related to resource projects. Simply, they responded with one word: science. From table to table, they were consistent in their belief that good science from strong researchers would provide the basis for sound, local decision-making based hermes belt size chart men
on evidence, not anecdotes. Interestingly, when all of the facilitators got together to compare notes, this need for long-term planning informed by local knowledge (generally obtained through good research) was a theme that emerged over and over again.

Screen capture from the Global TV broadcast. Click here to watch the story.

One example of this was highlighted by Global TV when it broadcasted its News Hour from UNBC earlier this week. Their story on UNBC included a depiction of the Bioenergy Plant that really focused on how the research associated with it – covering such topics as emissions and the use of ash – is directly relevant to local forestry, agriculture, and mining industries. Ultimately, it would be the communities relying on these sectors that would also benefit.

As UNBC aims to expand hermes outlet its experience with local, renewable energy to be of greater value to northern, rural, and remote communities, research will play a critical role in both advancing technologies and translating their application to communities. And as we continue to work to address the skills shortage, it’s our region’s ability to innovate through research that will make our communities and industries more competitive, attractive, and resilient.