MAJOR FUNDING FOR NORTHEAST COMMUNITIES

DAWSON CREEK – The Memorandum of Understanding between the province and local governments signed today in Taylor will give northeast communities the resources they need to develop infrastructure and provide services, says Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom.

“This has been a long and involved process for everyone involved. This MOU is one of the most proactive and significant to be signed in the history of northeast B.C. communities. The agreement signed today is a positive conclusion for everyone involved, and shows that all of our hard work has been worthwhile,” says Lekstrom. “This MOU is an incredible opportunity for our local communities. I would like to thank the representatives from our northeastern municipal governments and the province who worked tirelessly over the years to make this agreement a reality.”

The MOU provides revenues to communities in the region, starting with $20 million in the first year of a 15-year commitment. Annual payments will be indexed to changes in the rural industrial assessment base. This funding comes in addition to a one-time funding grant of $40 million, which is for local infrastructure for communities in the Peace River Regional District ($35 million) and Fort Nelson ($5 million) to recognize the historical deficits in local infrastructure.

“Today’s agreement shows what can be accomplished when the province is willing to sit down at the table with municipal governments and actually listen to their concerns and needs,” says Lekstrom. “This funding will give our local officials stability and the capacity to plan ahead to meet future infrastructure demands.”

Northeast communities provide services for the oil and gas industry, but cannot access the oil and gas industry property tax base. This MOU addresses this situation by providing revenue in place of industrial taxes.