Nautral Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, BREOC Chairman George Glazier, BREOC committee member Ron Checkel, Carol Thomson (BREOC), BREOC Transition Center Coordinators Stacey Green, Kara Spady, Wayne Robert of Urban Systems and Samantha Myroniuk. (Contributed photo)

Castor, Forestburg, coal workers get $257,644 to transition to low-carbon economy

Two transition centres will serve seven communities in the Battle River Region

Castor and Forsestburg got a $257,644 economic boost from the federal government.

Amarjeet Sohi, Federal Minister of Natural Resources announced the first investment of $257,664 through the Canada Coal Transition Initiative (CCTI). The money will be used to convert two existing office spaces into transition centres supporting entrepreneurship and employment services in Castor and Forestburg.

“We understand a successful transition to the low-carbon economy includes supporting workers and communities,” said Sohi. “This is why I am so pleased the funding announced today will help establish two transition centres to provide resources and services to residents in seven communities in the Battle River region.”

In a release, Sohi said the centres will provide former coal miners, generating station workers and community members with new employment and business support, training programs and entrepreneurial development services.

Battle River Economic Opportunities Committee Chairman George Glazier welcomed the funding.

“The support of the federal government in seeing this important initiative to support workers and their families adapt to economic change is welcomed by all communities in the region,” he said. “While many local organizations are working together to address the challenges faced with moving in a new direction, it is extremely helpful to have consideration from higher levels of government that enables us to maintain strong communities and a competitive quality of life.”

RELATED: Govt’s coal phase-out plan slammed at Stettler meeting

Earlier this year the government announced amendments to regulations phasing out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030. In its 2018 budget, the federal government earmarked $35 million over the next five years for skills development and economic diversification to support the communities affected by the phase-out.

“The transition to a low carbon economy is about ensuring we leave our kids with good jobs on a healthy planet,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “This is why the funding announced today is so important. It will help Albertans develop the skills they need today in order to succeed and have good quality jobs in our transitioning economy.”

The Canada Coal Transition Initiative will be implemented by Western Economic Diversification Canada and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Alberta produces about 50 per cent of its electricity from coal-fired electric generation. The Battle River Generating Station is operated by ATCO is about 20 km south of Forestburg. It’s serviced by Paintearth Mine.

RELATED: Coal shutdowns could affect water services

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the funding was from the province. It is in fact from the federal government.

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