The Peace River Regional District board discussed how or if the district should be advocating for industry in the region during their committee of the whole meeting on May 28.
The discussion was prompted by Over A Barrel, a short political documentary released in October that explores activism against the Canadian oil and gas industry, and how foreign funding has been used to cut Canadian oil from global markets.
“I think it would be good for the board to make a decision, whether we are supportive of resource industries in Northeast BC,” said Director Karen Goodings, in reference to an earlier discussion tabled in November.
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Some, however, had concerns, including Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman.
“My concern is that the board should not be advocating as a board,” said Ackerman. “Quite often we have regulations for land use. We need to be unbiased decision makers.”
Director Dan Rose says the discussion was prompted by more than just the film, as a meeting was held with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers around the time the documentary was released. Another meeting with CAPP is needed, he said.
“It’s about how we can advocate for the health of the industry. I think we can advocate for all resource development and economic prosperity in the region, without taking sides,” said Rose, citing agricultural and resource industries as the two largest drivers of the economy. “It’s a fine line.”
Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead said hotels in his city are struggling while industry work camps are on the rise.
“Our communities are built on the resource sector, but to support local businesses right now, we might appear that we’re not supporting industry,” he said.
Email reporter Tom Summer at [email protected]