Over 1000 new jobs could be on the way for Prince George and the surrounding communities, with the potential of a new petrochemical facility.

West Coast Olefins is starting the formal regulatory approval process to build a $5.6 billion ethylene plant and polyethylene facility in the BCR Industrial Area in Prince George.

Ken James, President and CEO of West Coast Olefins said hiring local just makes sense.

“The best thing for our company is hiring everyone locally. We already have people from Alberta plants that are originally from Prince George saying they want to come back home.”

James added for those transitioning out of the forestry sector some of the jobs will be transferable like for those who work in water treatment and steam boiler systems in the pulp mills and refineries.

The company is also in talks with CNC and UNBC to make sure the schools have the right training programs to educate people to work in the facilities.

The companies goal is to have financial investment decision by the end of 2020 with construction beginning in the spring of 2021.

Should the project get approval, the plant would begin operation by 2023, creating up to 1000 permanent jobs.

James said he is over 50 per cent confident the project will go through, adding it helps that they are using an existing pipeline in addition to the community and government support.

“We look at this community… a community that wants the jobs. Social acceptance trumps almost any other thing in doing a project today.”

Mayor of Prince George Lyn Hall said the project will be game changer for the city.

“We know there is a regulatory process to go through, a consultation process to go through, partnerships to meet, and many other stakeholders but today was good news,” said hall.