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“The first one was on LNG, and it was all about the upstream and downstream aspects of it and labour,” Mayor Lori Ackerman said. “Then there was the climate action presentation that we were asked to participate in.”

Some of the elements of Mayor Ackerman’s LNG presentation include what Fort St. John has gone through while trying to build a sustainable community within resource heavy region, how it impacts the community, what the city has learned and the city’s current accomplishments in addressing the challenge.

Mayor Ackerman also informed attendees at the UBCM conference about Fort St. John’s Official Community Plan, the Recreation and Transportation Plan, the implementation of development guidelines and charges, as well as the school site acquisition charges.

“I think they were quite surprised to find out how far advanced Fort St. John is in building community,” Mayor Ackerman proudly explained. “You have to understand, we’ve been forced to advance ourselves in creating community because we have socio-economic impacts as a result of the resource development.”

Mayor Ackerman adds, “We must not only think outside of the box, but in some cases, build a whole new box.”

Meanwhile, during the climate action presentation, Mayor Ackerman said she illustrated to attendees the different green initiatives the city has undertaken, as well as the partnerships they’ve formed in order to reach these goals.

Some examples presented included the energy challenge and the solar partnership between School District 60, B.C. Hydro and Solar B.C

“We are B.C.’s energy capital, and as a result, it’s our responsibility to pay attention,” Mayor Ackerman went on to say. “We know what it takes to create more energy; it’s in our backyard.”

Mayor Ackerman also says she’s surprised to learn that very few other communities have partnered with their school district.

Given that Mayor Ackerman was unable able to attend the Concerned Citizens for Health Care forum earlier this month, she took advantage of an opportunity to sit down with the official opposition’s health critic,  NDP Judy Darcy, who was in attendance during the forum, and plans to meet with Heath Minister Terry Lake later in the week.

“We spent an hour talking about all of the different aspects of the health care issue,” Mayor Ackerman explained.  “…It’s going to have to be a multi-pronged approach, and we’re looking for all different views, perspectives and opportunities to address this issue.”

“For health care in Fort St. John, I don’t think it’s about fixing this with a Band-Aid; I honestly think we need surgery on this issue.”

Mayor Ackerman also says she’s in talks with Education Minister Peter Fassbender regarding the construction of new elementary and middle schools in our district as we prepare for the anticipated increase in population over the coming years.

“I think we needed these schools yesterday and I’m sure most people would agree with me,” Mayor Ackerman said. “The reality is that’s not going to happen, so the next best thing is making sure that we’re ready to go as soon as possible.”

Minister Fassbender and his colleagues are expected to be coming into Fort St. John in the near future to see first hand the education structure currently in place.

As the conference continues, Mayor Ackerman says she’s glad our city has experience living within a resource heavy region and looks forward to engaging other city representatives in an effort to help guide them in the right direction amid the province’s decision on Site C and LNG development.

“We’re sharing a lot of our experiences with them and hoping they as communities are going to be successful as well,” Mayor Ackerman concludes.

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