Last week, I had the chance to tour northwestern B.C. in my role as Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. I met with a large number of people, including fellow ministers, local politicians, municipal staff, and business and community leaders, to discuss how to ensure that resource-based communities attract families and remain vibrant in times of economic growth. The rapidly-growing LNG industry will be a major economic engine for our province, and it’s important to make sure northern communities share in the benefits.
My trip began in Terrace, where I had the chance to meet with a delegation from New Hazelton, including two local organizations that have received Community Gaming Grants from my ministry, and with the Terrace City Council together with Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad and Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett. From there, I travelled to Prince Rupert, where I attended a dinner held by the Chamber of Commerce. The next day, Minister Rustad and I met with the Prince Rupert City Council and the Port Edward Town Council, and a little later I met with Ken Veldman of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. That evening, I travelled to Terrace and had a working dinner with the Terrace Chamber, and wrapped up the trip the next day with a meeting with the Kitimat City Council and the Kitimat Stikine Regional District.
The trip was a great way to get to know northwestern B.C. and discuss what the LNG opportunity will mean for this region. Our government recently released an LNG Action Plan detailing how the LNG sector is expected to grow and the jobs that will be created as a result. Expanding the LNG industry will mean the construction of export facilities, transfer stations, jetties and pipelines in northeastern B.C., with the ports of Kitimat and Prince Rupert playing a key role.
Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.