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Big Study Documents The Relationship Between Northeastern Municipalities And Oil And Gas Industries

A report released this week by The Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition documents 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 said the report is the ‘culmination of months of work researching the history of oil and gas development’ and the impact on each respective northeastern community.

“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.” she said.

For more than 50 years, local governments of the Peace Region have advocated for access to the industrial tax base, which would provide adequate infrastructure and services to a growing industry – with limited success.

The NEBCC says only 10 years ago, 50% of the roads in Fort St. John were not paved.

District of Taylor Mayor, Rob Fraser added that municipalities and regional districts in the Peace 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 development of the 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.

“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,” Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor, Bill Streeper concluded.

Streeper said the NRRM intends 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.”

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

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