VICTORIA, B.C. — Premier John Horgan’s officer says the provincial government will be providing funding for a group of municipalities looking to get its own version of the Peace River Agreement signed with the Province.
Premier Horgan said that the government will provide $300,000 to the Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance in support of its communities’ continued efforts to strengthen economic development in the region.
“We believe that people should benefit from the prosperity generated by their hard work, and the resources of the regions where they live. I applaud the efforts of the RBA to strengthen their local economies,” said Horgan. “We are committed to working with Northwest communities as they work to help stabilize their economy over the long term.”
The Resource Benefits Alliance, representing 21 local governments from Vanderhoof to Masset, was formed in 2014 to advocate for the infrastructure needs of their communities. During the provincial election last year, Horgan stated that the NDP would negotiate with the RBA in September of 2017 if it were to form government. Then-Premier Christy Clark declined to make a similar commitment, saying at a separate campaign event that the Province had been providing the region with funding through the rural dividend fund.
“Building a strong, sustainable, innovative economy is a priority for this government,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This funding is expected to help the RBA build relationships with First Nations, labour, major project proponents, local business and the non-profit sector.”
“The RBA shares the government’s vision of economic development that creates good local jobs and sustainable communities,” said RBA chair Bill Miller. “We thank the Premier and minister for recognizing that liveable, well-serviced communities are essential for economic development.”
Leaders from the RBA met with Premier Horgan in late September last year, saying that negotiations had begun. On September 29th, the RBA said in a release that it hoped to reach a revenue-sharing agreement with the provincial government within six months.