BC Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen met with members of the Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA) in Terrace April 22-23 to discuss regional issues of infrastructure and delivery needs.
The RBA comprises all member municipalities and electoral districts of the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District, the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District and the North Coast Regional District. It was formed with the intention of entering into a sustainable funding agreement with the province to keep more North West generated funds in the region.
Terrace Councilman Sean Bujtas, who is co-chair of the RBA’s steering committee, told CFTK-TV he was grateful for the opportunity to discuss infrastructure challenges.
“There’s a lot of underground stuff that’s a real big deal. A lot of us have old sewers, we have old water systems, and those things need to be replaced because some communities see where they’re getting critical mass and without a resource benefit land agreement, I don’t know not what these communities are going to do,” he said.
At a 2019 Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention, Premier John Horgan addressed the issue of the Northwest and other communities benefiting from a funding agreement that will help the development and create sustainable viable communities, stating that all communities along the Northwest Corridor will benefit from the investment.
For Bujtas though, it’s time to get things done in the process.
“Quite frankly, we need the government to keep the commitment it promised us. The premiere in 2019 at UBCM (convention) said that we had to make a deal. Things have slowed down because of the pandemic which we understand, but now it’s time to get back to the table and start putting pen ink on a piece of paper and getting a deal signed, and I hopefully we can move forward with this and make our whole communities a much more livable place,” he said.
“If we got to a point where we had better infrastructure and better services, I think a lot of people would be more inclined to come and live in Terrace. If we bring people into our communities, they realize how great and happy they are to stay, but that’s a bit of a hard sell when your infrastructure crumbles or you don’t offer the convenience that this no one in particular wants,” he continued. .
Minister Cullen was well received by the RBA at the recent meeting and expressed his commitment to charting the way forward through a Memorandum of Understanding, which is expected to be signed at the UBCM Congress in September .