FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver, B.C. – Friday, September 29, 2017 – Yesterday, the leaders of the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA) met with Premier John Horgan to brief the Premier and his senior staff on a resource benefits sharing agreement for Northwest BC.
The Premier confirmed he and his senior government officials will collaborate, beginning immediately, with the RBA on a resource benefits sharing agreement.
“Yesterday’s meeting was unequivocally the most positive meeting we’ve had with the provincial government since the beginning of the RBA. After four years of empty promises we have finally gotten to the negotiation table,” said RBA Chair, Bill Miller. “The senior government officials understand this type of agreement will not only benefit the Northwest, but the whole province. It is a critical component to enable the northwest region to reach its true potential and contribute to the province’s economic future in a very positive way.”
The meeting took place at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention, the main forum for UBCM policy-making and meetings between local government and provincial government officials.
“The John Horgan government really understands that we experience great inequity in the northwest,” said RBA Co-Chair Phil Germuth. “The Northwest is the backbone of BC, and in order to ensure our communities continue to support economic development activities that contribute to the province, we need a share of the revenues to stay in the Northwest. The Premier sees that investing in the Northwest is not just about making up for lost time, but spurring growth in the region. It is an investment from which the entire province can expect a large economic return.
“It is also clear from the meetings this week that our four MLAs, made up of two NDPs and two Liberals, are taking a non-partisan approach,” said City of Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc. “All four MLAs have committed to working together to make sure we get this deal done.”
“This agreement will also ensure local First Nations benefit as well, by allowing us to strengthen relationships with the surrounding communities,” said City of Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain. This will be a win-win for everyone.”
“It’s refreshing to be working with a government that is committed to finding a way to make this agreement happen,” said RBA Co-Chair Barry Pages. “John Horgan also committed to meet again in December to check in on the progress that has been made.”
The provincial government and RBA leaders are hoping to reach an agreement within six months.
The Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance is a group of 21 local governments across Northwest BC, from Masset to Vanderhoof, committed to achieving revenue sharing for the region.