Premier Christy Clark will visit the Peace Region Friday, a move that likely signals the conclusion of a tense renegotiation of the Fair Share deal.
The premier will visit Dawson Creek's water treatment plant Friday, followed by an event at the Pomeroy Sport Centre in Fort St. John. While the purpose of her visit hasn't been made public, many expect the premier and Peace Region elected representatives will sign a new Fair Share agreement — the deal which compensates municipalities for natural gas development outside their boundaries.
Joining Clark are the Peace Region's two MLAs and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes — the minister in charge of negotiating the deal.
Fair Share negotiations unexpectedly kicked off in early March, after the province announced it would like to renegotiate the deal, which did not expire until 2020.
Many suggested the province wanted to lock in the multimillion dollar agreement ahead of liquefied natural gas investment decisions this summer.
The exact details of the deal are not yet known, though it is expected to run through 2030.
The negotiations were contentious and at times boiled over in public.
As talks progressed, the South Peace and Hudson's Hope split off from the Taylor and Fort St. John over disagreements on negotiating strategy.
Fort St. John accused the province of trying to "exploit the north" by clawing back Fair Share money, including a clause that tied payments to growth in the natural gas industry.
Since the early 1990s, the Fair Share deal has been a stand-in for industrial tax base for Peace Region municipalities, which are unable to tax natural gas and other industrial infrastructure in the hinterlands.