VICTORIA, B.C. – The Province of British Columbia and the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to “outline common goals and set out principles for future engagement,” a government release said.
“We know that northwestern B.C. has unique needs and is growing quickly. By signing this MOU agreement, our government is committed to listening to rural and northern voices, and we will work collaboratively to meet the needs of people in this beautiful region,” provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathan Cullen said in a statement.
The RBA, an association of 21 local governments in northwestern B.C., includes member municipalities and electoral areas of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and the North Coast Regional District.
“This MOU is a significant step forward for the Resource Benefits Alliance and the Province of B.C. The RBA is pleased to see the recognition of the economic, social, health, environmental and heritage impacts of major resource development in northwestern British Columbia and be moving toward long-term sustainability for our communities. This MOU represents significant time, resources and advocacy by dedicated local leaders, and we look forward to continuing to work together to advance the interests of our communities,” District of Houston mayor and Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako director Shane Brienen said in a joint statement.
Since 2019, the B.C. government has provided $150 million through the Northern Capital and Planning Grant to help local governments with planning and infrastructure improvements, the release stated.