The RBA region has well developed rail, road, and port infrastructure that supports the movement of goods and services to and from North American and Asian markets. RBA communities support large industrial developments like LNG Canada, mines, and hydroelectricity projects that are critical to the provincial economy but not always desired or wanted in other regions of the province. Industry is attracted to the region because of the deep-water Port of Prince Rupert, which is the Pacific Port Gateway internationally, abundance of natural resources, and available land and hydroelectricity for industrial and commercial development, as well as the deep-water Douglas Channel and Kitimat Harbour which is home to the Rio Tinto aluminum smelter and LNG Canada.
The importance of the region to the province is highlighted in the 2022 BC major project inventory (MPI), which shows that nearly 74% of all major projects related to mining, oil and gas, wood manufacturing and petrochemical manufacturing recently completed or already under construction in BC are within the RBA region. That trend in the regional concentration of industrial development is projected to continue with 84% of all proposed 2023 BC major industrial projects forecasted to occur within the area. Given these statistics, The RBA region is an economic generator for the province.
It is recognized that local governments within the RBA region will be critical to ensuring the success of any new industrial development in the region. Key for RBA local government is having the community infrastructure and capacity in place to support the projected industrial activity and its workforce. Potential infrastructure investments are reflected in the RBA’s “Sustainability and Liveability Report.” While the report is a snapshot in time (2018/19), it has identified 222 local infrastructure projects totalling $1.332 billion in the region, with service costs of $113 million annually over 20 years. The infrastructure investments required by RBA communities is significant; however, infrastructure needs in isolation do not make the RBA unique within the province.
Little additional local revenue is generated by major capital projects 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
Blackwater Gold Project
Huckleberry Copper and Gold Mine
Kerr, Sulphurets Mitchell and Iron Cap
Berg Copper-Molybdenum-Silver Mine
South West from Houston
Morrison Copper-Gold Mine
North of Granisle
Fairview Container Terminal Expansion
Port of Stewart Expansion
Ridley Island Energy Export Facility
Ksi Lisims LNG
Avanti Kitsault Mine Project
Northwest of Terrace
Galore Creek Gold/Silver/Copper Mine
Newcrest (Red Chris and Brucejack mines)
South of Dease Lake