Despite moving its engineering base to Kelowna, the Oil and Gas Commission has committed to keeping its key operations in Fort St. John.
In December, it was revealed that the OGC was moving four members of its engineering department from Fort St. John to Kelowna and that another two will be hired for the new office. The Commission stated at the time the office needed to be moved because of how difficult it was to recruit qualified personnel in Fort St. John.
During a January meeting, local and provincial government officials, including Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm, met with OGC Commissioner Alex Ferguson. After the meeting, the OGC agreed that no more staff would be moved from Fort St. John or the rest of the northeast to Kelowna.
The OGC has also agreed to increase staffing levels at its engineering department in Fort St. John over the next few years and will develop recruitment and retention programs.
Fort St. John will also remain as the headquarters and main operations base for the Commission.
Pimm says, “Our efforts at the community level have resulted in a clearer understanding that the oil and gas resources of this province are primarily located in northeast B.C. and that we expect the offices and employees of the Oil and Gas Commission to remain in northeast B.C. where their work sites are located”.
There has been significant public outcry from the local business community in Fort St. John about the OGC decision to move its engineering base to Kelowna, which has caused other provincial MLAs to get involved.
Provincial NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix has spoken out against the Oil and Gas Commission decision to move its engineering base to Kelowna. In a release put out by Dix’s campaign, it stated these jobs should be moved to the Prince George area, where there are greater ties to the oil and gas industry over Kelowna. Dix now says that what was meant is that the jobs should be kept within the Peace River region.