A new Insights West poll has found that 85 per cent of northwest B.C. residents believe it is important to have a revenue sharing agreement in the region.
Under the agreement, a portion of provincial government revenue from northwest B.C. resource projects would be provided back to local governments.
According to the province’s major project inventory, there is $230 billion worth of projects slated for northwest B.C. Conservative estimates, that exclude LNG, forecast at least $30 billion to move forward in the next 10 years. As global economic conditions improve, it could be much more. A few LNG plants would more than double this number to over $60 billion.
“The provincial government is relying on northwest resources to provide monetary resources for the entire province,” says Barry Pages, vice-chair of the Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance.
“The northwest should have a tangible physical legacy from all this wealth, not be left worse off as we have been in past development booms,” he added.
The Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance is a group of 21 local governments across Northwest B.C., from Masset to Vanderhoof, committed to achieving revenue sharing for the region.
Poll results find that, by far, residents would prefer to secure a share of provincial revenue from resource projects (61 per cent), with significantly fewer opting for increasing taxes on resource companies (34 per cent) or increasing local property taxes (six per cent).
“There is strong support for resource development in the northwest,” says Mario Canseco, vice president of public affairs at Insights West. “Residents rely on major resource projects to sustain their families with six-in-ten respondents stating an influx in major projects would positively affect their family’s quality of life.”
The poll also found that more than 75 per cent of residents believe provincial government financial support for facilities and services in their region is worse than in the Lower Mainland.
Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from April 18 to April 22, 2017, among 502 adult British Columbians who reside in the regional districts of Bulkley-Nechako, North Coast and Kitimat-Stikine. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.