The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC (ICBA) is joining a group of Northeast B.C. mayors and businesses aimed at promoting “responsible” resource development.
The ICBA and Northeast B.C. Resource Municipalities Coalition came together for the announcement in Fort St. John. Mayor Lori Ackerman said having the ICBA on board allows a further reach for the coalition’s message.
“It’s important for us to get the word out across British Columbia, that we are focused on responsible resource development and that is what the ICBA is focused on as well,” she said. “Together we are going to be able to join forces along with the other 1,600 members, and create some great synergy.”
The ICBA is an association of “open shop” contractors formed in the 1970s to lobby against trade union influence in public sector construction.
Mike Davis, vice president of regional initiatives for the ICBA, said the coalition and his organization share similar views on resource development.
“Anytime you have a lot of different groups talking about the same stuff, if you can unite that group than that voice gets pretty loud,” he said. “If we can gather folks that have similar mindsets as our organizations, then I think when you are trying to get stuff done you carry a powerful message. We’ve always said strength in numbers is important.”
Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser said the coalition has three focuses, including ensuring competitive and fair business practices, getting Canadian resources to world markets, and making sure that long-term jobs are available from “responsible” resource growth.
Ackerman, along with executive of the coalition Colin Griffith, spoke on the steps of the B.C. legislature earlier this year. They said the coalitions efforts are helping the province and country understand the value of responsible resource management—a step furthered by the new partnership.
“They (ICBA) have members who are not in the north and they don’t understand natural gas and the uses for it,” Ackerman said.
“So (the partnership) is an opportunity for them to come on board a little bit more to understand. There’s an energy illiteracy out there that needs to be rectified. These are not magic ceilings. These are not magic walls. You get your energy from somewhere and it is important for people to understand where it comes from.”
The coalition includes staff and elected officials from Fort St. John, Taylor, and the Northern Rockies , as well as local business groups. It was formed in the lead up to renegotiations on the Fair Share agreement, a subsidy in-lieu of resources with the province of B.C. Dawson Creek was originally a member, but left in early 2015.