Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

NRRM Raises Community Issues with Ministers at UBCM

 

 

October 18, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

NRRM Raises Community Issues with Ministers at UBCM

FORT NELSON, B.C. – Officials from the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM) travelled to the 2017 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention in September, where local governments have the opportunity to gain an audience with BC Cabinet Ministers. The NRRM delegation included Mayor Bill Streeper, Regional Councillor Daniel Soles and support staff, who ensured the new Cabinet Ministers learned firsthand the history of the Municipality and the challenges facing the community.

Over the course of two separate meetings Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Doug Donaldson was apprised of the NRRM’s critical need for available tenure to attract any viable and sustainable forest-sector investment.  The constraints on tenure were detailed to Minister Donaldson including Canfor’s monopoly on tenure and failure to produce local value with their forest licenses over the past decade, the delays in the Timber Supply Review IV, and potential impacts on the Annual Allowable Cut through the unresolved Boreal Caribou Restoration Implementation Plan.

Improving local healthcare is one of the key strategic priorities for Regional Council.  To help further this end during their meeting with Minister of Health Adrian Dix, the delegation explained how the erosion of health services creates a gross inequity for residents of the NRRM.  The centralization of services (such as maternity, cancer care and many simple diagnostics) to larger centres means, at minimum, a one-way trip of 400 kilometres along the Alaska Highway. Minister Dix acknowledged the concerns raised and was hopeful about the potential to implement new solutions.

The delegation also met with the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, to share the community’s concerns about the lack of 9-1-1 services. “Our region is one of the last in BC to be without 9-1-1,” said Mayor Bill Streeper. “Geographically, that’s ten per cent of the province where, in a crisis, a person can’t just call that simple number for help.”  While the request was made of the Ministry to support the activation of 9-1-1 service in the NRRM, it was also noted that limited cellular connectivity along the Alaska Highway corridor creates some concern to the effectiveness of the service overall. 

An extremely welcome message was communicated by Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Michelle Mungall, who echoed Regional Council’s desire to establish the LNG industry in British Columbia as a globally competitive sector of the Provincial Economy.  

Councillor Soles noted “as a region that’s known for innovation, we definitely have ideas, and we are pleased to be able to have an opportunity to communicate them to the ministers.”

“The meetings we had at this year’s UBCM conference were very productive,” said Mayor Streeper.  “We look forward to working with the Province to turn their commitments into reality for our local residents.” 

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Contact: Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

Phone: (250) 774-2541

Email: JustAsk@NorthernRockies.ca

Website: www.NorthernRockies.ca

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