OGC Kelowna office sparking concerns

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The Oil and Gas Commission has announced it is opening an engineering office in Kelowna, which has caused concerns among local government in northeast B.C.

Fort St. John City Council has expressed its concerns of what having an office outside of northeastern B.C would mean for the oil and gas industry in the area.

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The OGC has chosen to open an office in Kelowna since there are new oil and gas activities and prospects that are occurring in southeastern B.C., in the Elk Valley area, says Lee Shanks, communications manager for the Commission.

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Shanks says one reason the Kelowna office is opening is due to problems in retaining appropriate staff in the north, adding that the only team leader position that will be in Kelowna would be a chief engineer.

She also says the Kelowna office will include approximately 12 positions, of which half will be moved from the offices in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek. However, she adds that the engineering capacity in the northeast is consistently increasing.

The City has chosen to write a letter to the Minister of Natural Resource Operations and MLA for Kelowna-Mission Steve Thomson to convey its concerns, says Fort St. John City Councillor Lori Ackerman.

Ackerman says one of the biggest concerns of having an engineering office in Kelowna would be the impact of being able to conduct a successful operation in the North.

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Ackerman also says the City has forecast between a $1.6 and $1.8 million decrease in economic activity in the area due to the loss of those worker’s incomes and the work they conduct in the region.

Another impact she says would be the potential lack of engineering mentors for students and youth in the community.

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