The Northwest economy has traditionally been based upon natural resource extraction, which has generated tremendous amounts of wealth for the Province but has a long history of boom and bust. There are four natural resource industries that have formed the economic foundation of the region: forestry, commercial fisheries, mining and hydro-electricity.
Yet, over the past five years more than $13 billion has been spent on major capital projects in the region, including pipelines, transmission lines, mines, clean energy projects, port expansions, LNG plant site preparation and an aluminum smelter replacement just to name a few. At the same time, the provincial government has earned at least $500 million in incremental revenue associated with these projects.
There are currently Northwest projects with capital costs of $213 billion that are at various stages in the approval process. The RBA conservatively estimates that there will be at least $30 billion spent on non-LNG capital projects over the next ten years. If the LNG industry does proceed, that activity would more than double to over $60 billion.
Little additional local revenue is generated because development is largely outside municipalities and has wide-ranging impacts. Local residents and businesses subsidize the provincial government, creating a significant competitive disadvantage for the region. Here’s a snapshot of projected developments in the Northwest:
Banks Island North Wind Energy Project
Kitimat LNG Terminal Pacific Trails Pipeline
Blackwater Gold Project
Kitimat Clean Oil Refinery and Pipeline
Kerr, Sulphurets Mitchell and Iron Cap