Photo: The new Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Bill Bennett, was in the Peace River Region on invitation from Pat Pimm, MLA for Peace River North./Kimberley Molina
Bill Bennett has been in the Peace River region and has been discussing his new position as the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum resources in British Columbia
The Fort St. John Chamber of Commerce hosted a dinner for the minister Thursday night and he spoke at a news conference on Friday.
He has been in the Peace River region, including touring facilities and speaking with various businesses in Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Taylor and Fort St. John.
Bennett says that although he is not from the Northeast region, the area of Kootenay East that he represents has similar industries and faces similar challenges to the Peace River area.
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He also addressed the changes that have been made to the Oil and Gas Activities Act which the government has been working on to provide land owners greater rights to their land and in providing further avenues for them if there is a dispute.
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A major area of contention which the Ministry will be dealing with is the Site C dam project which is being proposed by BC Hydro.
Bennett says that until recently he was not aware of what the need was for the dam project, however, since becoming Energy Minister, he has been in discussions with BC Hydro about the different energy sources and their reliability.
He says that the project, if passed, is still several years away and that he understands the impact that it can have on people within the region. He added that for the people whose land would be flooded, the project will have a large impact, however, he says the project would be relatively beneficial.
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Bennett was the third Minister to visit the area on invitation from Pat Pimm, the MLA for Peace River North. Both Colin Hansen, Minister of Finance, and Mary Polak, Minister of Children and Family Development, were also in the city earlier in the week.