Under the 2005 Fair Share Agreement, it was projected that the seven municipalities in the region would share $49.7 million in 2016, $53.7 million in 2017, $57.9 million in 2018, and $62.6 million in 2019. Under the terms of the new agreement, agreed upon this month, the communities sharing a flat $50 million per year until 2019. In 2020, there will be a slight annual increase of two per cent each year until 2035.
What this means for the region, is a projected $24.2 million less in revenue from the Province. In addition, the new agreement does not include the link to industrial growth that the previous Fair Share agreements did.
Fort St. John and Taylor felt that the 2005 Fair Share agreement should be honoured, and the Councils hoped that an agreement beyond 2020 could be negotiated over time. When the Province indicated that there would be a framework broad enough to allow for consideration of the communities’ interests, Fort St. John announced it would negotiate.
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Mayor Lori Ackerman says Council said yes after having a tough conversation about the proposed agreement. “When we realized that that was not a hill that we could die on, was this agreement broad enough for us to move forward and work within that. We decided that it was and there was questions about what would happen if we said no and everyone else is saying yes, where would we be? That’s the reality of it. Council did a lot of soul searching and decided that we had done so much already that this was just not a hill to die on considering that in the next eight years we’re going to be able re-open this agreement once the province starts receiving the LNG money. Then we can open it up and have this conversation again about what the escalator clause looks like.”
Fort St. John is committed to ensuring the Province understands and respects the unique needs of a resource-based community with the highest growth rate in the province.
“The District of Taylor has resolved to become a signatory of the new Peace River Agreement,” said Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser. “After considerable debate, the council concluded that the new agreement provides a degree of certainty that will assist the District in supporting current industrial growth rates.”