Sept. 23, 2008
SAINT JOHN (CNB) - Premier Shawn Graham and the province's most senior public servant, the clerk of the executive council, are directing government efforts and attention in support of the development of the New Brunswick Energy Hub.
This commitment also extends to the long- term vision, as outlined in the Benefits Blueprint Report, to optimize outcomes for New Brunswickers and create the supports for what is anticipated to be unprecedented growth in the province.
Following a meeting with energy-sector stakeholders in Saint John, Graham announced that he and David Ferguson, clerk of the executive council and secretary to cabinet, have joined with Energy Minister Jack Keir, cabinet liaison for the Benefits Blueprint, and Deputy Energy Minister Claire LePage in co-ordinating government's role and leading by example as champions for initiatives outlined in the Benefits Blueprint Report critical to the success of the province's major capital projects in the energy sector.
Graham said they will pay special attention to key issues such as ensuring that New Brunswick has a productive and skilled workforce available to take on many of the upcoming employment opportunities in the energy sector province-wide. He added that projects of the magnitude of the proposed second refinery at Eider Rock in Saint John and the much anticipated second reactor at Point Lepreau will create pressures on housing stock in greater Saint John and will require changes to its socio-economic infrastructure to accommodate the anticipated urban growth in these communities.
"I'm very pleased to join with my colleagues and to lend my support to the good work being done to put in place the Benefits Blueprint recommendations and build the Energy Hub here in Saint John and throughout New Brunswick," Graham said. "Realizing this vision will require a significant amount of effort and co-ordination from many of our provincial departments, but this alone will not be enough. We are putting forth the challenge to our federal counterparts, our community partners, agencies, and municipalities to support this vision and our broader goal to become self-sufficient by 2026."
The Benefits Blueprint was a broad-based community initiative funded by the governments of New Brunswick and Canada as well as by Irving Oil Ltd. It brought together a group of community stakeholders from across New Brunswick to make recommendations on the best ways to optimize economic growth and social benefits resulting from the major industrial projects happening or proposed for New Brunswick. The report, unveiled in April 2008, provided several recommendations throughout seven key focus areas, and a program co-ordination office has since been established to support and monitor progress on these recommendations.
"The province is committed to supporting the Benefits Blueprint team as we work with our partners in the federal government and in the business community to work towards realizing the vision as outlined in the Benefits Blueprint Report," Keir said. "This work will ensure continued, stable growth in the energy sector for the benefit of everyone in Greater Saint John and all New Brunswickers."
Major projects worth as much as $19 billion are underway or being considered in New Brunswick, including the Canaport LNG liquefied natural gas terminal and supporting pipeline, a significant refurbishment project at the Point Lepreau generating station, a new potash mine in Sussex, the proposed second oil refinery and a proposed second nuclear reactor.
"The long-term nature of many of these energy projects is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our province," Graham said. "It also provides employers with a golden opportunity to partner with the Department of Energy; Population Growth Secretariat; and Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour to train and repatriate skilled workers and attract new residents who wish to be part of building a self-sufficient future here in New Brunswick."
Keir said that by adding Graham and Ferguson to the team, government is placing a broader cross-organizational focus on identifying and acting on Benefits Blueprint initiatives that support the development of New Brunswick's Energy Hub.
"Together, we are working to ensure that the Saint John region and all regions of New Brunswick will be able to share in the potential for growth and prosperity arising from the energy sector," Keir said. "By working together as a government and with our partners, we can make the Benefits Blueprint a reality and achieve our twin goals of becoming the Energy Hub and achieving self-sufficiency."
MEDIA CONTACTS: Bonnie Doyle, communications, Energy, 506-658-2410; Marie-Andrée Bolduc, communications, Office of the Premier, 506-444-2286.