VICTORIA - The outstanding achievements of B.C.'s public service employees in the Interior and the North have been recognized with the Premier's Awards, Premier Christy Clark announced.
"This year's recipients are passionate, innovative professionals who made contributions in different ways," said Premier Clark. "But they all share a passion and commitment to improving the lives of British Columbians."
More than 300 employees and teams from the Interior and Northern regions were recognized for developing new, more efficient ways of providing services to B.C. communities, including Okanagan Shuswap District, Southern Interior, Burns Lake, Bulkley-Nechako District and Northeast B.C.
* One project developed a land-management plan to protect drinking water, bringing together federal, provincial and local governments, as well as forestry and livestock producers, in the first partnership of its kind in B.C.
* An award-winning team leader, whose technical entry-level and engineer-in-training program has hired 110 skilled new employees as workers retire, is reducing costs while ensuring safe and reliable roads for B.C. families.
* After fire destroyed a Burns Lake sawmill, cross-ministry teams ensured crucial services were maintained and helped displaced workers re-train and find re-employment.
* Another team streamlined the permitting process for industrial-scale wind developments by supporting flexibility and innovation.
* Staff developed the online Northeast Water Tool (NEWT) tool, to deliver up-to-date information to support water management decisions, and greatly reduced the time and cost required to prepare water use applications.
"It's exciting to see how the efforts of our public service translate into new and innovative ways of delivering the essential services that B.C. families depend on," Finance Minister Michael de Jong said. "I'm proud of all of our nominees and recipients."
This year's recipients were selected by a group of independent adjudicators and announced via a streaming online video presentation. Similar webcasts on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26, 2013, will honour Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland employees. The final celebration will take place in Victoria at a provincewide awards ceremony.
Videos of the Premier's Awards finalists can be viewed online at: http://www.youtube.com/user/BCPublicService#p/p
Premier's Awards honour Interior and Northern recipients
VICTORIA - 311 public service employees from B.C.'s Northern and Interior regions have received awards in Partnership, Leadership, Cross Government Integration, Organizational Excellence, and Innovation categories.
Ministry of Agriculture
PARTNERSHIP CATEGORY - The first of its kind in B.C., this water- management partnership arose out of the need to protect drinking water in the Okanagan Shuswap District. The Vernon Creek watershed is a community watershed that provides drinking water and an important source of timber, forage and recreational activities. Concern that livestock grazing and other activities in the watershed may affect water quality led to a unique partnership between provincial and local government agencies and key stakeholders and partners. Their win/win approach integrated the management of forestry and livestock productions with conservation practices to protect drinking water while also promoting industry.
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
LEADERSHIP CATEGORY - Paula Cousins' emphasis on camaraderie and teamwork and her unique talent for coaching has resulted in her corporate and operational services team winning the prestigious 10 Best Places to Work award in 2010 and 2011. Her positive influence also benefits British Columbians and clients through her delivery of finance, information technology and contract services. Cousins led the technical entry-level and engineer-in-training programs, which hired more than 110 skilled employees, ensuring service excellence in road work as employees retire. Her successful business case for reliable road rehabilitation funding has resulted in savings while ensuring safe and reliable roads for British Columbians.
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
CROSS-GOVERNMENT INTEGRATION - By partnering with the Village of Burns Lake and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako after the Babine Forest Products sawmill fire, the ministry led on-the-ground response efforts and co-ordinated a broad community recovery response for Burns Lake. The Babine Forest Products sawmill, a major employer in the community with 252 full-time and 17 part-time employees, was destroyed. By focusing on economic development opportunities, the team supported the town through a timber-supply review, assisting workers in retraining or re-employment and ensured crucial community services were maintained.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
ORGANIZATIONAL EXCELLENCE - The FLNRO Major Project office authorizes wind farms on Crown land. The Finavera Tumbler Ridge Wind Energy project was the first one to be managed by the office. The office took this opportunity for a fresh start to create new procedures to streamline the permitting process. Building on lessons learned, the team supported flexibility and innovation in the permitting process, resulting in the operational and industrial-scale wind development getting started in a shorter and more efficient timeframe. This project was an excellent example of the benefits of ongoing innovation, improvement and risk-taking in project management.
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
INNOVATION - When B.C. First Nations and other groups identified a need for up-to-date information to make better informed water management decisions, FLNRO, the Oil and Gas Commission and Geoscience BC collaborated to improve the process by developing the Northeast Water Tool (NEWT). This online tool has reduced the time and cost required to prepare, comment on and adjudicate water-use applications accurately. It is also accessible to the public to enhance access to water-licence information.