FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Members of the Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition had a chance to sit down with Premier Christy Clark at the UBCM meetings last week in Victoria.
Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman said the talk with the Premier was very engaging.
“The meeting with Premier Clark was to bring forward the work that the Coalition is doing. Our objectives, our actions. We talked about the natural gas industry in Northeast British Columbia, we talked about the presentations that we’ve made to the finance committee, as well as to the competitive tax commission. We also talked about looking at how we could level the playing field for our BC contractors when non-BC residents come into the province to function.”
Ackerman says that there is a model that already works in Saskatchewan, that they know will work in BC. They brought all of the research to Premier Clark and they indicated that this was something that needs to be looked at and it also needs to be looked at soon.
She says Clark was receptive to the issue that was brought to her attention.
“She was very engaged in it. Especially knowing that this is a process that already works. It does level the playing field. It’s not a onerous red-tape type of project because of the way it works, you’d have to see all the aspects of it. She was very interested in how that would move forward.”
The other topic of discussion that Ackerman said was discussed with the Premier were the roads and highways that were washed out during the floods last summer.
“We were able to bring forward when we had the washouts on the highways and the highway coming up from Prince George was washed out in a few areas again. The Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Environment and the Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Operations Ministry is trying to work with the Regional District and Chetwynd to ensure that doesn’t happen again. Unfortunately, with the way the emergency response legislation is, there is a immediate action that needs to be taken to ensure that a creek doesn’t react the same way again.”
The project was requiring $2.2 million. The Regional District would have had to cover a portion of those costs, and not having the money in place, they would see the road washout again.
“Premier Clark was very receptive to moving that project forward and getting it done so that the highway, which is really the only connection we have between the rest of British Columbia, doesn’t have the same washout again.”
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