Northern Mayors Seek Common Ground
Prince George, B.C. – From 100 Mile House to Fort Nelson and from Haida Gwaii to Valemount– 24 mayors, 17 chief administrative officers, six regional district chairs and a smattering of support staff have gathered at the Civic Centre in Prince George today.
They’ve met to discuss issues of common concern and ways of working together to address them. It’s the first meeting of its kind in the 62-year existence of the North Central Local Government (NCLGA).
“I’m thrilled that we were able to get together and under the NCLGA banner,” says meeting co-chair and Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall.
“It has never been done and when I became mayor one of the focus points I really wanted to address was getting all of the communities that are represented together in one room and for a first time meeting I think we’ve really knocked it out of the park.”
He says the meeting has been broken into three categories: economic development, social responsibility and environmental stewardship though he didn’t bring any specific issues from Prince George to discuss.
“We just wanted to see where that conversation went and ironically enough, the conversation really comes back to economic development – as economic development in a community goes you face different issues around environmental stewardship or social responsibilities.”
District of Mackenzie Mayor Pat Crook also sees great value in the meeting.
“We should be working as a cohesive unit. I think this is the first step for standing up for the north and working as one large body,” he says.
“It’s all about sustainability, building coalitions with First Nations, economic development and sustainability. They’re all there for the north, I mean everything goes south, all the revenue, all the taxes, very little comes back.
“Forestry for example still accounts for 40% of the provincial budget. Some of that money should be coming back in a more realistic form, it shouldn’t all stay in the 604 area.”