Ashcroft, B.C.- July 14, 2010

Supplemental content

Speech by the Honourable Chuck Strahl to announce a funding committment to Ashcroft Terminal

Based on a transcript.

Thank you very much. Well, this is an important day, a nice announcement, and a great occasion here, not only for Ashcroft, but for BC and Canada, so I’m delighted to be here.

I’m here on behalf of Stockwell Day, the Regional Minister in BC, to say that the federal government is going to make a contribution to this project to the tune of $5 million in order to make sure that Ashcroft Terminal and the project that they are proposing here not only gets off the ground but is a part of our transportation system.

This is a tribute first to the proponents, the guys that have put together the idea of what could happen here. And what became clear as they were talking about it and made this very convincing case, that what we’re talking about here is not only potential for a local economy, a chance to load and reload – you see some of the trucks behind me and have going by as we’ve been talking here.

But whether it be ore, whether it be roofing material, whether it be pellets from the pine beetle pellet industry, whether it be reloads of different kinds, storage, shipping, putting together trains here, making it more efficient – and everybody talks about the potential of this kind of a multi-user rail facility and what it might mean to transportation corridors here in Canada, or where this material may go. But what’s become clear is that this is not just a project for BC, or even for Canada.

This is the kind of a project that’s going to make a difference in the transportation corridors right down into Chicago, into the States and across the country. Because efficiencies here mean efficiencies for railways. It gets trucks off the road, it gets product together in a way that maximizes two-way trade, both our trade, our potential trade overseas and the trade that comes back and is redistributed here in North America.
It fits in nicely with our government’s gateway plans to improve transportation corridors. I mentioned, this will help get trucks off the road. It’s a more efficient mode of transportation here on the railway. This helps our whole sales pitch that we have with Asia and the whole Asia-Pacific corridor, that this is part and parcel of a big plan to make your business with us efficient. And this is a key part of a potential for the country.

When you see this kind of infrastructure being invested, there’s a multi million dollar project, this is not, as you can all appreciate, these kind of projects take a tremendous amount of planning and a huge amount of expertise. But we all understand that, when this kind of infrastructure goes in, when railways are involved particularly, they’re thinking long term. They want to know.

This is not here today, gone tomorrow. This is not just interesting because there’s pine beetle wood involved or anything. This is because they see a long-term potential with a long-term return, and that means jobs and opportunity here in Ashcroft and in the region. So that is a good news story. That’s the kind of story we want to hear.

I get so enthused about it, but the reason is that this has been a dream of many people. To see it first mapped out on the blueprints, and then to see it coming together, and now, with the government’s involvement, you have another vote of confidence from the senior level of government that what you’re working on here is part of what is important to the country, not just to the region.

So any way you look at it, this is a tremendously important day. This is the kind of a long-term project that brings a thrill to my heart. I just love to see when we can build into the infrastructure of the country in a way that allows other entrepreneurs to take advantage of it. And that’s something we’ve missed here and that is going to finally be available.

So the $5 million that we announce today I think is just seed money for a tremendous project. And that seed money is already bearing fruit but is going to bear fruit for generations to come. So congratulations to Ashcroft Terminal for the proposal. I want to thank the officials that worked on this behind the scene. To all the ministers involved, I’ll be able to take back the message that they’ve got to come up and see.

This is not just conceptual anymore but to see the actual action on the ground. This is the kind of thing that warms your heart on a warm day. So thank you very much for all that you’ve done here, and congratulations all around.

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