FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Mayor Lori Ackerman and her fellow members of Fort St. John City Council met with Premier Christy Clark, Natural Gas Development and Housing Minister Ellis Ross, and the provincial Green Party Caucus on Tuesday.
Due to the last-minute scheduling of these meetings, the City said that not all members of Council were able to attend. The Mayor and three other councillors began their day in a breakfast meeting with Minister Ross. The City said that Ross was very interested in the work the city did with ‘Let’s Talk Site C’ and the community measures agreement that resulted. Mayor Ackerman highlighted the City’s ability and desire to work with industry to strengthen the community.
In the afternoon, Mayor Ackerman and Councillor Bolin met with the Premier where they discussed lost contracts on the BC Hydro Site C project, and shared the concerns of local businesses and local employees. The two emphasized with the Premier that the community is strengthened when contracts are honoured.
Finally, Mayor Ackerman and Councillor Bolin met with the BC Green Party Caucus on Tuesday evening where they discussed BC’s reputation as a world leader in regulations and best practices in resource extraction. The importance of local government involvement in the decisions that impact the community was also stressed. Ackerman and Bolin also suggested the Green caucus visit with representatives of the Blueberry, Doig and Halfway First Nations.
“I think it was important to remind these decision makers that there is a community here and we need to be involved in decisions that impact us,” said Mayor Ackerman. “We discussed the importance of local hire and local businesses. I don’t want my community to be used as a political football between political parties.”
“I was surprised and impressed with the Green Party’s openness to a balanced approach to resource development in the north and I hope that continues,” added Bolin.
The City says that Council will invite NDP leader John Horgan to visit the community to learn about the BC Hydro project and the natural gas industry. “At one time Mr. Horgan sat in my office and stated he would not shut down Site C,” said Ackerman. “I welcome him back to continue that conversation and learn more about the community here and how we work with industry and other levels of government to strengthen our community.”