B.C. mayors want key role for resource development in pandemic recovery

·2 min read

Twenty-three B.C. mayors are calling on Premier John Horgan to establish policies that give resource-based communities a key role in the province’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan.

In an open letter to Horgan Nov. 19, the mayors of both rural and urban municipalities praised previous foundation investments in natural resource development, as well as associated construction and transportation needs, and asked for inclusion in future policy discussions.

“As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, BC has undergone a tremendous economic shock,” the letter reads. “Fortunately, BC’s resource industries have been able to persevere during this period. Our mines have continued to operate, the forest sector was able to take advantage of soaring lumber prices during 2020, aquaculture continues to invest and innovate, and four major energy projects have kept British Columbia workers busy building the resource infrastructure of the future.”

In September the province announced a $1.5 billion pandemic economic recovery plan, in addition to previous commitments, targeting primarily tourism, food security, climate action, technology and innovation.

Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman said the group of mayors found no disagreements with the strategy, and issued the letter primarily as a show of support.

“This was just to let the premier know that we are ready and willing to engage,” Ackerman said. “Our resource industries need to be front of mind when we’re looking at creating the future of British Columbia. We’ve got businesses that need to get working. With a new cabinet coming into place we needed to send the premier our congratulations and hope that we can work on this together.”

The mayors asked Horgan to enshrine five core pillars for economic recovery into the Mandate Letters of incoming cabinet ministers.

Those pillars are: quickly enable shovel-ready projects to proceed; ensure international investors know B.C.’s industries can succeed in uncertain global investment conditions; recognize the unique advantage of globally carbon-competitive exports; put workers and communities first when delivering on campaign commitments; and ensure any new regulations affecting delivery on the first four pillars are considered carefully.

Going forward, the mayors also offered their support on all aspects of pandemic recovery and ongoing efforts with climate change and First Nations reconciliation.

The letter was written by Ackerman and Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb, and supported by:

Mayor Andy Adams, Campbell River

Mayor Bruno Tassone, Castlegar

Mayor Allen Courtoreille, Chetwynd

Mayor Lee Pratt, Cranbrook

Mayor Dale Bumstead, Dawson Creek

Mayor Michelle Staples, Duncan

Mayor Sarrah Storey, Fraser Lake

Mayor Brad Unger, Gold River

Mayor Linda McGuire, Granisle

Mayor Phil Germuth, Kitimat

Mayor Dennis Dugas, Port Hardy

Mayor Joan Atkinson, Mackenzie

Mayor Linda Brown, Merritt

Mayor Gary Foster, Northern Rockies

Mayor Brad West, Port Coquitlam

Mayor Gaby Wickstrom, Port McNeill

Mayor Lorraine Michetti, Pouce Coupe

Mayor Doug McCallum, Surrey

Mayor Rob Fraser, Taylor

Mayor Carol Leclerc, Terrace

Mayor Keith Bertrand, Tumbler Ridge

Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View