Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Report from Wilderness Committee charts frustrations of Northern BC with decision makers in the south

A report from the Wilderness Committee of British Columbia published in June is providing a snap shot of opinion and optimism form Northern British Columbia, as well as a heads up for southern based government decision makers as to some of the ongoing irritants in the relationship from south to north.

The report titled Voices and Vision of Northern British Columbia was compiled by Megan Gordon of the Vancouver based organization with interviews with a range of leaders from across Northern BC taking place from April to May of this year.

The North Coast and Nechako Region was one of three regions of the North examined by the Committee, the Executive Summary for the report providing the guidelines towards the themes to be explore which cover a fair amount of territory from Reconciliation to Climate Change, aspirations for continued growth of the economy and frustrations with senior levels of government and the way that they approach the issues of the north.

When it came to the challenge and barriers to change that Northern leaders have found or are frustrated over, the list included many familiar themes from the years of the past, included among them Economic volatility, Cost of living, Climate Change, Cumulative impacts, Aging infrastructure, Social issues and lack of services.

Towards a path forward, the document makes note of the important role that the provincial government plays in supporting Northern communities, as well as to explore what it is that the north wants from Victoria.

The list of some of the areas where improvement is needed includes meeting community needs, providing for better grant and direct funding and a re-dedication towards the goals of resource revenue sharing with Northern communities.

Many of those themes are familiar from the days of the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance, which has been championing the need for a new relationship with Victoria for a number of years now. 

Though their profile of late, has been somewhat reduced from just a few years ago, when the organization had outlined a range of concerns for the Provincial government to consider. 

The conclusion to the Fifty page report notes how successive provincial governments have funded hospitals, schools and public transit with resource revenues from the north, the time is now at hand to repay those debts and ensure that the North has the foundation for long term prosperity.

The focus of the report is to gain the attention of politicians in the south and policy makers in government and towards that goal, the Wilderness Committee has taken to an information campaign, recently sharing some of themes of the study through the editorial pages of the Victoria Times Columnist, a placement that should gain some readers for their  larger work from those working at the Legislature and for the government's various departments.

More notes on provincial issues can be explored from our Legislature archive page.

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