Terrace, BC – September 29, 2020 – The Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance (the “RBA”) continues to pursue a revenue sharing agreement with the provincial government, following through on the commitment 21 local governments made to work together collaboratively to solve an inter-regional issue.
The RBA formalized its commitment to working together in 2015 by signing the Northwest BC RBA Memorandum of Understanding (the “MOU”), which outlines guiding principles, governance and administrative frameworks, and other terms and conditions regarding the RBA.
The primary goal of the RBA is to negotiate a new funding agreement with the provincial government, so that the significant amount of economic development taking place in Northwest BC contributes to building strong, sustainable communities and delivers good paying jobs to our residents.
Shane Brienen, Mayor of Houston and RBA Co-Chair says “Although an agreement has yet to be finalized, the RBA team remains completely committed to this process and continues to work with the provincial government to address the needs of communities in Northwest BC. The leadership that is shown by 3 regional districts working together toward a common goal is rare if not unheard of, and it’s something we are all very proud of.”
A result of the ongoing efforts of the RBA is the Northern Capital and Planning Grant program, which saw over $78 million distributed from the provincial government to RBA communities in 2019, and an additional $38 million in 2020. “This provides communities with funding for much needed infrastructure projects such as road paving and water line replacements, which ultimately reduces local property tax and user fee increases and reduces the burden on the local taxpayer”, says Sean Bujtas, City of Terrace Councillor and RBA Co-Chair.
The ongoing pandemic has had significant impacts on our daily lives and the economy, well beyond what anyone could have predicted. Fortunately, the ongoing development in Northwest BC offers significant opportunities to assist the entire provincial economy in terms of recovery by generating additional jobs and additional revenues. Furthermore, the RBA’s request for a revenue sharing agreement to provide sustainable funding to build and replace infrastructure provides an opportunity for economic stimulus at a time when it is needed most. Lee Brain, Mayor of Prince Rupert and RBA Co-Chair, says “In terms of economic recovery from COVID-19, the RBA communities are in a unique position to be part of the solution by reinvesting into infrastructure that will support small businesses and resource projects in order to generate new revenues that will benefit our region, as well as the entire provincial economy.”
The members of the RBA share a strong commitment to work together for the benefit of all communities in Northwest BC and look forward to resuming discussions with the provincial government following the October 24, 2020 provincial election.
A copy of the RBA Memorandum of Understanding is available here.
For further information:
Lee Brain, RBA Co-Chair, North Coast Regional District
Shane Brienen, RBA Co-Chair, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Sean Bujtas, RBA Co-Chair, Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine
Kris Boland, RBA Project Manager
Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance
300 – 4545 Lazelle Avenue
Terrace, BC, Canada