Friday, March 14, 2014

City Council hears of Province's Preparedness plans for Northwest development

The prospect of a major burst of economic development was the lead off topic at Prince Rupert city Council on Monday night.

As the Mayor and Council listened carefully to a forty minute presentation from Grant Lachmuth, representing the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, for the Province of British Columbia.

During the course of his presentation he outlined for Council the scope of an initiative known as the Northwest Readiness Project. Providing a fair amount of background on the program designed to help communities of the Northwest adjust to the anticipated economic surge in the years to come.

The Northwest Readiness Project will for the most part be run in association with the Northern Development Initiative Trust, with assistance to local communities to be provided through the use of 4-6 interns from the Trust program.

Those graduates from the University of Northern British Columbia, will be offered to local governments to assist in clearing up such things as planning issues and backlogs of referral submissions and other government related tasks.

As well, Mr. Lachmuth expanded on the wider view of the Program which, will provide for liaison between local governments, government ministries and industry stakeholders.

All with an eye towards addressing the many concerns that local governments have about the growing numbers of projects for the region and the impact that it may have on social services, infrastructure and civic planning.

"For those communities that need assistance, we have negotiated an agreement with Northern Development Initiative Trust, on behalf of the province of B. C. that will provide for a number of planning interns, which are graduates from the University of Northern BC planning program ...  to provide some direct assistance - boots on the ground assistance  for the communities" -- Grant Lachmuth with background on the Northwest Readiness Project.

As his presentation progressed, Council members had many questions for Mr. Lachmuth regarding the project and how it will work with local communities.

Offering up inquiries and comment on a wide range of topics from the use and numbers of the interns to be made available to the community, to concerns over work camps, infrastructure pressure and the impact that a sudden surge of people moving into the area may have on such services as police and health in the community.

Later in the council meeting, Councillors Ashley and Thorkelson recommended that the City seek to hold a meeting with members of the project, local officials and industry stakeholders to develop a strategy for future development in the region.

You can review the full presentation from Mr. Lachmuth from the City's Video Archive, the discussion starts at the three minute mark.

We have more background on Council developments to be found on our City Council Discussion points archive.

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