September 15, 2022 – The Province and the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA) are committed to listening to rural and northern voices to better understand the growing needs of the region’s communities.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) strengthens the partnership between the Province and the RBA, which includes local governments throughout northwestern B.C. and outlines common goals and sets out principles for future engagement. It will build shared knowledge of the unique challenges in the region and determine the next phase to discuss solutions.
“We know that northwestern B.C. has unique needs and is growing quickly,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “By signing this MOU agreement, our government is committed to listening to rural and northern voices, and we will work collaboratively to meet the needs of people in this beautiful region.”
The RBA is an association of the 21 local governments in northwestern B.C., from Masset to Vanderhoof. Formed in 2014, the RBA includes member municipalities and electoral areas of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and the North Coast Regional District.
“We’re committed to ensuring people in northern B.C. have the services they need, which can be challenging while communities are in the midst of rapid economic growth,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast. “This is great news for communities in northwestern B.C., and I look forward to the continued collaboration.”
Kris Olsen, mayor, Village of Daajing Giids, and director, North Coast Regional District –
“The Northwest Resource Benefit Alliance is an important opportunity for our member municipalities and electoral areas to partner and plan with our First Nation neighbours on infrastructure programs and shared services across northwestern British Columbia. Our communities are interconnected, and we all benefit when we are able to plan and work together.”
Sean Bujtas, councillor, City of Terrace, and director, Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine –
“I am delighted we are moving that much closer to an agreement by signing this MOU. A finalized agreement will be a game changer for all communities across the northwest, as it will give us the ability to maintain and upgrade infrastructure in our communities, which is so desperately needed. Thank you to the Premier, Minister Cullen and staff for moving forward toward getting an agreement in place.”
Shane Brienen, mayor, District of Houston, and director, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako –
“This MOU is a significant step forward for the Resource Benefits Alliance and the Province of B.C. The RBA is pleased to see the recognition of the economic, social, health, environmental and heritage impacts of major resource development in northwestern British Columbia and be moving toward long-term sustainability for our communities. This MOU represents significant time, resources and advocacy by dedicated local leaders, and we look forward to continuing to work together to advance the interests of our communities.”
- Since 2019, the B.C. government has provided $150 million through the Northern Capital and Planning Grant to help local governments with planning and infrastructure improvements.
- As part of the $25-million Northern Healthy Communities Fund, the Province has invested more than $5 million in 46 projects that strengthen services in northern B.C. communities experiencing rapid economic growth.
- New projects receiving Northern Healthy Communities Fund investments will be announced quarterly until 2026.
Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance: https://www.nwresourcebenefits.ca
Northern Healthy Communities Fund: https://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/partner-programs/northern-healthy-communities-fund/
Memorandum of Understanding: https://www.nwresourcebenefits.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/MOU-Signed-09.15.2022.pdf
Click here to read this news release on the BC Government News website.