Two of the Founding Mayors of the Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition (Coalition) delivered keynote presentations during the Nation2Nation (N2N) Community Forum in Kitimat. The N2N Community Forum was co-hosted by the Haisla Nation and the District of Kitimat June 2-3.
Over 150 people attended the two-day forum which focused on First Nations, industry and governments working collaboratively on major projects and sustainable development, especially development related to B.C.’s emerging LNG industry.
Mayor Bill Streeper of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality told the crowd, “Development of an LNG industry for British Columbia is the only real economic opportunity we have in Northeast BC right now. Our community of Fort Nelson is suffering with people walking away from their homes because they can’t pay their mortgage due to not having a job. We need an LNG industry for BC and we need it now.”
Mayor Streeper delivered the keynote presentation to conclude Day One of the N2N Community Forum and reminded the delegates that the ‘NG’ in LNG is natural gas and that it comes from Northeast BC. He stressed that if BC were to export two trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year, it would be the equivalent of more than 70 nuclear power plants or approximately equal to 100 average sized coal power plants. Mayor Streeper also told the large crowd that the United States now has enough natural gas reserves to supply its domestic markets and export LNG and that without LNG Canada will have no other markets for Canadian gas.
Mayor Lori Ackerman was the keynote speaker on Day Two of the N2N Community Forum just before Premier Christy Clark addressed the crowd. She picked up on the importance of LNG to Canada to support what Mayor Streeper said the day before.
Mayor Ackerman said, “The Conference Board of Canada says demand for natural gas will double between 2012 and 2035, driven by production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for Asian markets and increased use of natural gas within Canada to produce electricity and produce bitumen in the oil sands. This increase in demand will drive an estimated $386 billion (in 2012 dollars) of investment. This investment will generate $364 billion in real GDP, support 131,460 jobs each year, produce $2.5 billion in corporate profits, $10.7 billion in labour income and provide $5.3 billion per year in tax revenues.”
Both Mayors Streeper and Ackerman talked about the value of the Coalition in conducting research and leading initiatives of importance to communities in Northeast BC. They stated that individual municipalities don’t have the resources to carry out this type of work themselves but by working together in the Coalition with industry organizations and Chambers of Commerce, the Coalition is providing a vital service to the Northeast and to British Columbia.
—Submitted by the Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition