Province take steps to stimulate northeast economy amid downturn

Photo by Surerus Pipeline

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Through British Columbia’s Infrastructure Royal Credit Program, the provincial government has confirmed today it has approved $120 million in royalty deductions with the aim of creating jobs and supporting the construction of 15 infrastructure projects, across a wide region of the northeast.

The IRCP is designed to keep the natural gas sector flourishing by attracting investment in new roads and pipeline projects and facilitates growth in communities like Fort St. John, Fort Nelson and Dawson Creek.

It comes at a time when the region has been struggling with the highest unemployment in the province, posting a jobless rate of more than 9% in the past five months, and now more than 3% higher than the provincial rate.

As a result of this year’s program the province says approximately $185 million is expected to reach service-sector companies, creating more than 1600 new jobs.

In addition, to new economic development, government royalty revenue increases as a result of new wells being drilled, after the infrastructure is built.

In today’s news release the government says 5 years from now the 2016 IRCP is expected to generate about $153 million in net revenue for the Province.

The program also supports the province’s LNG export opportunity as a result of the associated northeast sector upstream development.

Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman says, “The royalty incentive has supported development in our natural gas sector for over a decade, and it has helped British Columbia grow into a global competitor for new energy supply and export.”

Education Minister Mike Bernier, the Peace River South MLA, adds, “The Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program is unique to B-C and an important generator of employment and investment across the north”, and he adds, “It also supports long term planning and helps our natural resource industry with the necessary infrastructure to expand our markets.”