The Peace River and District Chamber of Commerce attended a job fair at the beginning of the month in British Columbia to help promote the area and its businesses.

Chamber president Layne Gardner was given the opportunity to attend the fair, hosted by Mercer in Prince George.

“Mercer was planning to host the job fair to help recruit and hire individuals who lost jobs due to Canfor’s announcement that they were eliminating 300 jobs at their local mills,” says Gardner.

“We collaborated with Mercer to have a representative of the chamber of commerce and economic development committee attend to help pitch Peace River and what a great place it is to live.”

Gardner says there is a lot of benefits to living in the area, and local businesses are struggling to recruit staff, an issue that the economic development committee (EDC) recognizes and feels needs to be addressed.

“I was excited to be able to attend and help those that lost jobs in Prince George to see the opportunity that is presenting itself with Mercer and, of course, Peace River and the surrounding Peace Country,” he says.

“All of the locals know how beautiful our area is and what a great place it is to call home and I wanted to be a part of getting that message out,” he adds.

Gardner says it is important for the chamber and EDC to look at opportunities when they are presented to get creative and learn to work with business partners to address concerns in the region.

“What a great way for the chamber and EDC to support Mercer and their job recruitment while at the same time allowing us to get out the message that Peace River and area is a fantastic place to live, work and play and that there are lots of opportunities in our area,” he says.

Gardner explains the chamber has heard from many businesses that they are struggling to find people to work at their establishments. The EDC and chamber co-hosted a job fair in fall 2022, Gardner says the employers who attended appreciated the assistance in recruiting new staff.

“Leading up to my trip to Prince George, I heard from many local businesses saying that they, too, are looking for people and to keep these businesses in mind for employment opportunities,” Gardner says. “My message to people in Prince George was that Mercer has positions available but if your partner or spouse is also looking, know that there are many jobs available in our area and – hopefully – that makes a transition to our community easier and a little less intimidating.”

Gardner says most people in the region know that the Peace Country is a beautiful place to call home. He says small town living has many perks, of which needed to be shared with people in other areas.

“People get to know people and that helps one to feel welcome and part of something,” he says of small-town living.

“Real estate in Peace River is affordable compared to many other municipalities and you never have to worry about traffic or terrible commutes. We are just steps from so much outdoor adventure and nature.”

He says time will tell how the job fair worked out for Peace River and Mercer itself, but he feels attending locations other than in-province should help recruit skillsets from other locations.

“It also allows us to help other businesses in our area that are also looking for staff to get the word out that there are other job opportunities available,” he says.

“A little more spotlight and attention to Peace River and area is not a bad thing in my opinion.”

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 17, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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