Former in 2014, the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance is an association of 21 local governments across northwest B.C., from Masset to Vanderhoof. (Submitted image)

Former in 2014, the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance is an association of 21 local governments across northwest B.C., from Masset to Vanderhoof. (Submitted image)

Northwest B.C.’s infrastructure needs $1.3 billion: RBA

New analysis to support request for revenue-sharing deal

Northwest B.C. needs at least $1.3 billion in capital investments in local infrastructure, according to a recent analysis conducted by the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA).

Kris Boland, the alliance’s project manager, said the findings of the Infrastructure Needs Analysis — a sort of wish list for 21 local governments across the northwest, from Vanderhoof to Masset — weren’t surprising.

“The RBA members already know there is a significant infrastructure deficit in the region, and the RBA local governments are struggling to solve that deficit due to small populations and a limited tax base,” said Boland.

According to the analysis, over the past five years more than $13 billion in capital spending has occurred on major projects in the region — mines, pipelines, transmission lines, clean energy projects, port expansions, LNG plant site preparation and an aluminum smelter replacement.

But instead of benefiting the region, this activity has hurt it, states the report, as most of the economic activity is outside of municipal boundaries, generating little local government revenue while imposing significant costs on nearby communities.

Existing standards of basic public services in many communities across the northwest are significantly lower than those enjoyed by other British Columbians, the report states.

Meanwhile northwest B.C. has $154 billion of major industrial projects being built or proposed — approximately 60 per cent of the provincial total, the report adds.

“The RBA communities are in general not feeling prepared enough in terms of sustainability and livability to support the variety of increasing demands these industrial developments would impose on the communities,” Boland said.

And the estimated $1.3 billion needed in capital investments is likely to increase, said Boland, noting that’s a “preliminary figure.”

“What became apparent through this process was [that], in some communities, additional planning work needs to be completed to gain a more complete understanding of the necessary infrastructure projects and their costs,” Boland said. “My guess is that the $1.3 billion needs figure would increase significantly through more robust planning efforts.”

The report will now be used as the basis to support the RBA’s request for a revenue-sharing deal between the province and the region, with the goal of achieving a funding agreement prior to the next provincial election, said Boland.

At the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September, B.C. Premier John Horgan committed to these negotiations.

READ MORE: Province commits to negotiating revenue-sharing agreement with northwest B.C. municipalities

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Angelique Houlihan gets her COVID-19 vaccine jab last week at the community-wide clinic. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
Vaccine clinic continues this week

Plenty of booking spots available

District of Houston
Council adds flexibility to spending decisions

Singles out road works as potential beneficiary

Filling potholes in Houston
Holes filled on Highway 16

Potholes aren’t restricted to District of Houston streets. Lakes District Maintenance crews… Continue reading

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, Minister Responsible for Housing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. announces $2B for affordable, middle-income family home projects

HousingHub financing to encourage more developers, groups – with low-interest loans – to build affordable homes

Most Read