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March 15, 2024, 3:19 pm

New Funding Supports Critical Infrastructure in the Northwest

Ministry of Municipal Affairs
TERRACE -  Thousands of people living and working in northwestern B.C. will benefit from a regional funding agreement that will create jobs and bring much-needed infrastructure projects to support economic growth in their communities.

“By working together, we are ensuring people in northwest B.C. have the services and infrastructure they count on like roads, hospitals, water and housing,” said Premier David Eby. “We are also making sure these communities can benefit from resource development in their region, and the pressures it brings. Everyone in B.C. deserves stability in their jobs and their communities today, tomorrow and for years to come.”

As part of Budget 2024, the Province is providing 21 local governments, represented through the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA), with $250 million over five years to support infrastructure construction and the renewal or replacement of capital assets. This will enable the sustainability of infrastructure for core public services, such as roads, water, sewer and other amenities. 

“As the minister of municipal affairs, working with RBA communities to get this new funding in place has been a priority for me as it is part of our government’s efforts to building a strong and sustainable economy in all parts of the province,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “I’m very proud of the work our government is doing to bolster the vibrancy of rural and northern communities. This new RBA funding will better address the unique infrastructure needs of each community in this large and diverse region as they continue to grow sustainably.”

The new one-time funding builds on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in September 2022 between the Province and the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance to help strengthen their partnership. The MOU commits to supporting local governments throughout northwestern B.C. It outlines common goals, sets out principles for future engagement and builds shared knowledge of the unique challenges faced in the region.

“Northwest B.C. is a fast-growing region with unique needs for the people who live here,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “This new funding agreement with the RBA will provide our communities with a stable, predictable source of revenue that will keep the region vibrant and attractive not only for current residents, but also for new business and industries along with their workers for many years to come.”

The RBA was formed in 2014 as an association of local governments in northwestern B.C. It includes member municipalities and electoral areas of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and the North Coast Regional District.

Quotes:

Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast 
“This announcement is the result of so much intergovernmental co-operation and persistence, with passionate advocates on all levels. This funding will equip local governments in the northwest with additional resources to promote sustainable economic growth and will help build essential infrastructure required to sustain small communities and facilitate major projects in the area.”

Gladys Atrill, mayor of Smithers, and director for the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako 
“Today, we start a new relationship between our northwestern communities and the Province of B.C. This RBA agreement means we can respond to the needs and wants of the people who live here, providing core services and amenities that we have struggled to provide. Long-term reliable funding is a game-changer.”

Herb Pond, mayor of Prince Rupert, and director for the North Coast Regional District 
“This agreement just makes sense. We are an alliance of small remote communities servicing some of the largest industrial projects in the province. Investing back into our communities a portion of the revenues generated in the region goes a long way to aligning interests around projects that benefit every British Columbian.”

Sean Bujtas, mayor of Terrace, and director for the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine 
“Northwest British Columbians have been working with the Province for more than a decade to secure a resource-revenue sharing agreement. Today is historic for the northwest: the Province has committed a quarter-billion dollars over five years. This much-needed revenue will help communities fix critical infrastructure and start the process of building our communities to a level residents deserve.”

Quick Fact:
 
  • Since 2017, the Province has invested more than $336 million in local government infrastructure to ensure northern residents have access to core community services like water, sewer and roads. 
Learn More:

To learn more about Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance, visit: https://www.nwresourcebenefits.ca/news/


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