Honourable Jinny Jogindera Sims is Minister of Citizens’ Services, which is the branch of government that provides a wide range of services both in person and online primarily through Service BC, as well as access to freedom of information and information technology infrastructure. The Minister made plenty of local stops last week including MIDAS in Trail. (From left) MIDAS Lab Director Brad Pommen, Dan Salekin, KAST board chair, and Minister Jinny Sims.

Minister sees high tech potential in Trail area

Minister Jinny Sims toured Rossland, Trail, Castlegar and Nelson last week

Minister Jinny Sims sees Greater Trail as well positioned to become a vibrant hub for high tech industries.

The question now becomes, “How can the province help stretch broadband connectivity outside city centres and into outlying rural areas to support more start-up opportunities?”

“I found that local governments have been forward thinking in investment, in broadband, ” she told the Trail Times following a three-day tour last week.

“And realizing that if we are going to grow the economy into the 21st century, it’s got to be with the new railroads – and the new railroads are the broadbands.”

Honourable Jinny Jogindera Sims is Minister of Citizens’ Services, which is the branch of government that provides a wide range of services both in person and online primarily through Service BC, as well as access to freedom of information and information technology infrastructure.

“I always use this analogy,” she said. “In the old days we built a railroad across Canada that not only connected communities, but also led to a massive economic growth, with movement of good and services and people.”

She likens optic fibre networks to the “railroad of the future.”

“And with broadband where it opens up possibilities, almost every community I went to I met people who are living there for the lifestyle whether it was in Trail, Rossland, Nelson or Castlegar – but what they are doing is thousands of miles away.”

Amongst her stops were a shared workspace for freelancers and entrepreneurs in Nelson called the Jam Factory; Thoughtexchange, which is an international software company based in Rossland; and in Trail, the MIDAS Fab Lab and Metal Tech Alley, located in the i4C facility near the Trail airport.

“I saw the amazing amount of economic impetus that has been added,” Sims said. “This is where we have a great deal of interest, as a minister and our government, is absolutely focused on economic growth,” she added.

“One way for economic growth and jobs in our rural communities, and the foundational piece for me, is through connectivity.”

Sims’ was so impressed with the MIDAS site in Glenmerry, she said her ministry will be returning next year to showcase the company as model for new industry.

“We are looking at areas that have done things that are working and working well, (so) we are going to come back and profile it, ” Sims explained.

“Some of the staff from the ministry will come (back to Trail) and they will spend more time there, and explore (how) MIDAS works, why does it work, and how can we replicate it for other areas.”

MIDAS’ Brad Pommen says the visit with the Minster and aides was very positive.

“She identified that facilities like MIDAS are few and far between, especially for rural centers,” Pommen said.

“She chose MIDAS because we are leading the charge for technology adoption, affecting the region – not just Trail.”

She was also very encouraged by the technology and innovation happening daily as Metal Tech Alley moves toward building digital fabrication and advanced materials/metallurgy on a global scale.

“I was so very impressed,” Sims said. “The biggest challenge for us now, is that we have broadband in sections, so how do we grow that broadband to the local community as well as fuel this new economic growth.”

New technologies, including satellite and private ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are likely a key to continuous connectivity, which might eventually be possible even in the Kootenay mountain passes.

“Those are big challenges for us as a province,” she said. “And we’re trying to address those, so we are beginning to work with private service providers to see what some of the alternatives are.”

The last time Sims toured the area was about 10 years ago in her role as leader of the BC Teachers’ Federation.

She was encouraged by the changes since then and the promising growth potential in the Kootenays.

“So it’s been a few years since I’ve been there and I was pleased to see that things are moving again,” Sims concluded. “After a number of years when things were static or declining, including student enrolment in Trail, it was good to see that things are on the rise again and more people are moving in.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Katrine Conroy has won for the fifth time in the Kootenay West riding. Photo: Submitted
Katrine Conroy ready to tackle challenges after election

Conroy won the Kootenay West riding for the fifth time

Logan Terness made 31 saves to backstop the Trail Smoke Eaters to a 4-2 victory over the Cranbrook Bucks on Saturday at the Cominco Arena. Jim Bailey photo.
Trail Smoke Eaters double up Bucks, take Game 3 of Kootenay Cup

The Trail Smoke Eaters Chase Dafoe scored the game winner in a 4-2 victory over Cranbrook Saturday

Katrine Conroy
Katrine Conroy declared winner in Kootenay West

Preliminary results put NDP candidate firmly in the lead.

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Most Read