The B.C. government has committed $300,000 to help the Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA) consult with stakeholders and lock down their proposal.
The announcement highlights the likely start of negotiations on a resource-revenue sharing model for which the RBA has lobbied for four years.
Premier John Horgan met in person with RBA board members during a northwest tour last month.
“We believe that people should benefit from the prosperity generated by their hard work, and the resources of the regions where they live,” Horgan said in a press release.
“I applaud the efforts of the RBA to strengthen their local economies. We are committed to working with Northwest communities as they work to help stabilize their economy over the long term.”
The RBA consists of 21 local governments from Masset to Vanderhoof who seek a share of government revenue from future natural-resource developments. Among the proposed resource projects listed on the RBA website are the Kitimat LNG terminal, the Banks Island North Wind Energy Project, the Blackwater Gold mine, the Kitimat Clean oil refinery and pipeline, and the KSM mine proposed by Seabridge Gold.
The alliance says a resource-sharing agreement will help transform a “have-not region” into one reaching its full potential.
“The RBA shares the government’s vision of economic development that creates good local jobs and sustainable communities,” RBA chair Bill Miller said.
Selina Robinson, B.C.’s minister of municipal affairs and housing, said the funds are expected to help the RBA build relationships with First Nations, labour groups, industry, local business, and the non-profit sector.
“Building strong, sustainable, innovative economy is a priority for this government,” she said.
Early last month the alliance suggested the provincial government, currently seeking input on its Rural Development Strategy, use their resource-revenue sharing proposal as a pilot for the rest of the province.
“Essentially what we’re saying is, ‘Let’s get on with the negotiation,’” Miller said at the time.
“We want to sit down and develop a model that works, primarily for our region and our communities, but they can use that as a pilot and then adjust it for other places in the province.”
Note: David Black, president and owner of Kitimat Clean, is also chairman and majority owner of Black Press, which owns the Haida Gwaii Observer.