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MP probes northwest BC development attitudes

SKEENA-BULKLEY Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen is joining in on the growing efforts in the northwest to examine the impacts of potential large scale economic development in the region.

He's hosting a series of meetings from Prince Rupert to Prince George to gauge public opinion on how those developments will affect the area.

"With tens of billions of dollars in resource investment expected in northwest BC by the end of the decade, communities need to be a key part of the discussion if these projects are to gain social license to proceed," said Cullen in a news release yesterday.

Cullen and community partners are hosting discussions this month and next, dubbed Renewal Northwest, to identify the top criteria that communities want to see for projects to be supported by residents.

The sessions follow a similar series held in 2009, also under the Renewal Northwest heading.

This Renewal Northwest tour, titled New Projects, New Challenges, New Opportunities, wants answers to four key issues:

- how do people define and evaluate the key factors that make a project good for the Northwest

- how do people influence what projects go ahead?

- how to create steady and manageable rather than boom/bust economies

- how to ensure area residents benefit from responsible resource development

The first sessions takes place in Prince Rupert Feb. 17 with dates to be announced for Kitimat, Terrace, Prince George (co-hosted with UNBC), Fort St. James, Burns Lake and Smithers.

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