North Shore of the Asia-Pacific Gateway keeps expanding

VANCOUVER, July 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today marked the start of construction on the Lynn Creek Rail Bridge and Brooksbank Avenue Underpass project in North Vancouver, B.C. This federal investment of over $21 million will improve access to ports and railways, and help to seize job creation opportunities with a skilled workforce as we strengthen our trading connections overseas.

"Today's project milestone is an example of the success of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative," said Minister Day. "In the end, everybody benefits from investments in projects like this one: businesses save time and money, it creates jobs in the community and it strengthens Canada's trading position, especially with the Asian markets."

This project, delivered through Port Metro Vancouver, involves building a new bridge to carry eight new rail lines to widen the existing port rail corridor, and expanding the Brooksbank Avenue underpass. These expansions will improve railway access to and from Port Metro Vancouver's Neptune and Lynnterm West terminals in North Vancouver.

The project contributes to the expansion of the rail lines through the North Shore Trade Area, a growing centre for trade and economic activity in British Columbia. In 2008, the area handled 23.7 million tonnes of commodity, with a value of approximately $10.7 billion. By 2020, the North Shore terminals are forecast to generate a total of 31,000 jobs in Canada, earning over $1.4 billion in wages annually, and $2.0 billion in gross domestic product (GDP).

"Port Metro Vancouver is Canada's gateway to the world's most dynamic economies and serves as a major economic generator for the nation," said Robin Silvester, president and CEO, Port Metro Vancouver. "The North Shore Trade Area provides a critical connection to overseas markets for export products, and the Lynn Creek Rail Bridge and Brooksbank Avenue Underpass project is a great example of infrastructure improvement that will directly support economic growth. The project will both provide increased capacity and deliver further improvement in supply chain efficiency and reliability."

Minister Day also used this opportunity to announce funding of $254,977 for two projects led by the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table. This organization works with groups that come from different sectors to ensure we have the skilled employees that we need for the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

"The two projects will make the Asia-Pacific Gateway even more efficient and productive," said Minister Day. "The projects will help municipal, regional and Gateway planners further develop their skills to work in a more integrated way. Continuing to strengthen the skills of our workers will contribute to the growing success of the gateway."

"As our economy recovers and trade levels rebound, it is imperative that we have a skilled workforce ready to meet the needs of employers," said Oksana Exell, executive director of the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table. "The Skills Table continues to learn where there are gaps in Gateway skills and has been working with employers to close these to ensure the highest level of competency and expertise for Gateway employees such as crane operators."

The first project, Building Capacity for Integrated and Strategic Planning Functions in the Asia-Pacific Gateway, will receive $174,861 to collaboratively assess potential skills gaps among planning professionals within the Gateway. This will help facilitate more robust and integrated planning, contributing to enhanced productivity and efficiency of the Gateway.

The second project, Transferable Skills and Certification Feasibility for Crane Operators in the Asia-Pacific Gateway, will receive $80,116 to improve understanding of the skills and certification needs of the waterfront crane operations sector of the Gateway.

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                 Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative

The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor is a network of transportation infrastructure, including British Columbia's Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert ports, their principal road and rail connections stretching across Western Canada and south to the United States, key border crossings and major Canadian airports. The network serves all of Canada, and the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative aims to take advantage of Canada's strategic location at the crossroads between the North American marketplace and the booming economies of Asia.

The purpose of the Initiative is to strengthen Canada's competitive position in international commerce. Specifically, the Initiative seeks to:

    -   boost Canada's commerce with the Asia-Pacific region;
    -   increase the Gateway's share of North America-bound container imports
        from Asia; and
    -   improve the efficiency and reliability of the Gateway for Canadian
        and North American exports.

The Government of Canada's investments will continue to promote increased investments by the private sector and other public-sector partners to help ensure efficient and seamless connections between the various modes of transportation and improve traffic flows for international cargo.

The Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table

Developing Canada's human resources is increasingly vital to competing in today's competitive global economy. The Government of Canada recognizes the need to maintain Canada's knowledge advantage and to ensure that Canada has the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. Through the Sector Council Program, the Government of Canada works with organizations such as the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table that bring together industry, labour, governments and Aboriginal interests to meet human resources and skills development needs.

The Skills Table is as a cross-sectoral, industry-driven organization that responds to human resources and skills development needs in the Asia-Pacific Gateway by:

    -   establishing priority projects;
    -   leveraging investments in skills and human resources development
    -   supporting partnerships among industry stakeholders; and
    -   advancing solutions and strategies adopted by the Skills Table to
        meet industry needs.

                                                                   July 2010

SOURCE Transport Canada

For further information: For further information: Mélisa Leclerc, Director of Communications, Office of the President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, 613-952-5051; Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary, Office of Minister Finley, 819-994-2482; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055; Media Relations, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Gatineau, 819-994-5559

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