Northeast B.C. Resource Coalition launches public forum series

The Northeast B.C. Resource Municipalities’ Coalition is renewing its commitment to ensure responsible resource development and healthy community growth with a public forum series that kicks off Nov. 25.

The event, to be held at the Pomeroy Hotel in Fort St. John, is the first of a three-part forum series entitled Empowering Community Voices in Resource Development.

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The state of global economies and resource development, the status of current LNG and pipeline projects, and economic growth projections and impacts are just a few of the planned discussion topics.

Keynote speaker Charles Jago, former president of University of Northern B.C. and past chair of the Fraser Basin Council, will speak on the relationship between local communities and the role they play in long-term resource

Another speaker, from the BC LNG Alliance, will provide expertise on the subject of natural gas. A series of panels will address related subjects, and organizations including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Ministry of Natural Gas Development will be given an opportunity to outline what their roles and functions are in resource development.

“It’s an opportune time for an update on what the current state of the industry (is)... for information to be available to the local communities, to the business community, the local citizens about what is going to be happening with the economy over the next number of years,” said Colin Griffith, executive director of the coalition.

The purpose of the forums is to provide an opportunity to local citizens and the business community to discuss their view of the challenges and opportunities going forward with resource development in Northeast B.C, he explained.

“We’ll also have a lot of industry and government people at the forum to provide updates on what their role is, and what they’re doing currently, what some of the planning is,” said Griffith.

The coalition is currently made up of Fort St. John, the District of Taylor and the Northern Rockies Resource Municipality, as well as honorary member Senator Richard Neufeld.

Although Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd, and Pouce Coupe were once part of the coalition and stepped away, each will be given personal invitations to attend.

“We hope that there’s a great turnout, and certainly they’re all more than welcome to attend and participate,” Griffith said.

Although coalition membership was restricted to municipalities when it was first conceived, it is now open to electoral area directors. “They’re all welcome,” Griffith said.

Organizers anticipate a turnout of 125 participants. More information can be found on the NEBC Resource Municipalities Coalition website.

Future forums in the series will be held in Taylor in April, and in the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality in September.

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