Northwest Wants Revenue Sharing Agreement
Terrace, B.C.- A new survey indicates strong support for a revenue sharing agreement that would see the Northwest receive a share of revenue from projects in that region.
According to an Insights West survey, 85% of Northwest B.C. residents believe it is important to have a revenue sharing agreement that would see a portion returned to local governments.
The poll also found that more than 75% of residents believe provincial government financial support for facilities and services in their region is worse than in the Lower Mainland.
According to research conducted by the Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA), Northwest B.C. communities have a combined $600 million infrastructure deficit, with that number increasing annually.
“Without provincial government revenue sharing, our taxpayers do not have the means to fill the infrastructure and local service gaps we face, especially since we can’t tax resource developments outside of municipal boundaries,” says Bill Miller, Chair of the RBA and Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.
Poll results find that, by far, residents would prefer to secure a share of provincial revenue from resource projects (61%), with significantly fewer opting for increasing taxes on resource companies (34%) or increasing local property taxes (6%).
Three-in-four residents believe resource project development in the Northwest will benefit their communities. Most (82%) expect the resource projects to bring employment opportunities , local business opportunities (79%), increased provincial revenue (76%), local tax revenue (66%), community sustainability (65%), and higher wages (60%).
In the past five years, there has been $13 billion in wealth-creating major project capital spending in the Northwest, generating at least $500 million in incremental provincial government revenue. “The provincial government is relying on Northwest resources to provide monetary resources for the entire province,” says Barry Pages, Vice-Chair of the RBA and Chair of the North Coast Regional District. “While residents are supportive of resource development and the resulting influx of jobs and opportunities, that comes with significant cost pressures for municipalities and regional districts. The revenue leaves the region and we are left with the costs. 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.”
“Negotiations need to begin now,” says Mayor Phil Germuth, Vice-Chair of the RBA and Chair of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine. “We’re asking that, by September 9, 2017, whichever government is elected will begin good-faith negotiations with the RBA, representing B.C.’s Northwest communities.“