UNBC's Northern Land use Institute has developed a program plan and hired a manager to oversee research on offshore oil and gas. The Northern Coastal Information and Research Program was developed by the University in response to a $2-million grant awarded in May of this past year by the BC Ministry Energy and Mines.
Norman Dale, well known to many islanders for his work as community liaison officer about a decade ago, started as program manager on November 18. He has lived on the central coast for many years and has extensive experience working with First Nations. He taught at UBC's School of Community and Regional Planning and has served on the boards of the Coastal Communities Network and the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network. Since the 1970s, he has been involved with coastal research and management, publishing a number of books and articles on the topic.
The Northern Coastal Information and Research Program work plan identifies three goals: Support research that adds to the overall understanding of issues surrounding offshore oil and gas development, engage First Nations and local communities along the Central and North Coast, establish a platform for research, communication, and community participation that will enhance the well-being of coastal communities.
"The goal of the program is to provide information and share knowledge that will enable people, especially those along the north coast, to make more informed and knowledgeable decisions about their future with respect to offshore oil and gas," says Dr. Alex Hawley, Director of Northern Land Use Institute, which is heading up the program. "It is not our job to influence decisions," adds Dr. Hawley, "But rather to inform decision makers. We look forward to performing that non-partisan role. The task in this case is to ensure that people on the north coast can participate in decision-making and resource management in meaningful ways."
More information about the Northern Coastal Information and Research Program is available at www.unbc.ca/nlui.