Offshore oil and gas development is bigger than the islands, says Queen Charlotte Mayor Carol Kulesha and she doesn’t want islanders left out of future discussions if the moratorium is lifted.
“It could happen with or without our input, despite our share of the risk,” she says.
She reported to council at its February 20 meeting about a Union of BC Municipalities working group set up to implement a joint agreement with the province on offshore oil and gas.
Mayor Kulesha said that despite the coalition of island leaders and others who tried to block a resolution supporting the lifting of the moratorium at the March 2005 UBCM convention, they were outvoted.
A memorandum of understanding was established between the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the UBCM, which represents local governments in BC.
The MOU is to facilitate a process by which the province’s Offshore Oil and Gas Team consults with local governments. The working group’s purpose is to gain an understanding of the relevant issues and provide feedback to the province on the concerns of local governments.
Mayor Kulesha says Masset Mayor Barry Pages and Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond are on the working group along with the mayors of Port Hardy, Port McNeil and regional district representatives from the Central Coast and the Kitimat-Stikine. The group meets quarterly and most recently got together on February 17.
She said the province has a separate structure for consulting with First Nations, but out of this meeting the group recommended there be a joint process as well.
“We will do much better working together than alone,” she said.
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