Municipalities Role in Oil, Gas and Resource Development in Northeastern BC

NORTHEAST MAYORS RELEASE MAJOR REPORT

Fort St. John, BC - A major report was released this week by The Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition documenting the 50 year relationship between the municipalities in BC’s Northeast Region and the Province’s oil and gas Industry.

Fort St. John Mayor , Lori Ackerman stated,  “This report is the culmination of months of work researching the history of oil and gas development and the impact on northeast communities.  It overviews the challenges faced by local governments when the industrial tax base is not available to support infrastructure and services required by industry to develop our resources”

Northeast BC is widely regarded as the economic engine for British Columbia. Since 2003 the total Provincial revenue extracted from the northeast in oil and gas revenue exceeds $20 billion.

For more than 50 years local governments of the Peace Region have advocated for access to the industrial tax base to provide adequate infrastructure and services to a growing industry with limited success. For example only 10 years ago 50% of the roads in Fort St. John were not paved.

District of Taylor Mayor, Rob Fraser added, ”Our municipalities and regional districts have been very creative over the past 4 decades in developing partial solutions to this disconnect with the industrial tax base. This report summarizes the efforts of local government  to maintain the infrastructure and services required by industry and the needs of our permanent citizens.”

The inevitable development of the vast resources in the Northeast, particularly the vast natural gas reserves and the construction of Site C dam will place additional strain on municipalities who have struggled with inadequate infrastructure for decades.

Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor, Bill Streeper concluded, “The Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition key priority is to protect and enhance existing resource municipalities so that they continue to develop as permanent sustainable and vibrant communities. We intend to represent our citizens interest in all aspects of resource development be it local hire, work camps and the transient workforce challenges or the impact on our existing quality of life. ”

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