COLUMNS: A balanced approach to resource development

They say the key to life is balance. Here in the Cariboo, we see the need for balance everywhere.

They say the key to life is balance.

Here in the Cariboo, we see the need for balance everywhere – the balance between fertile and fallow times in our fields, between the time for harvest and re-growth in our forests, and between the benefits of extracting our natural resources and protecting our beautiful backcountry. When it comes to developing B.C.’s abundant natural resources, our provincial government understands this need for balance, as we saw once again in the case of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Throughout the process, we insisted that the project would need to meet our five conditions to protect both BC’s environmental and economic interests in order to go ahead.

Last week, Premier Christy Clark announced that, by clearly and consistently maintaining our principled position, we have secured tangible and significant results – which include protection for our wildlife habitat and caribou and grizzly populations, as well as the commitment that British Columbians will receive a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of the pipeline. These benefits will be significant. The project promises more than 75,000 person-years of employment — and British Columbian workers will be first in line for these jobs in our province. The project is also expected to generate $512 million in property taxes over 20 years for BC municipalities, increasing their revenues and creating the opportunity to improve services or reduce taxes.

As MLA for Cariboo North, I’m proud to see our government’s emphasis on putting British Columbians first, and on balancing the protection of our environment with the need to keep our economy strong and growing. In the Interior, this approach allows two significant economic sectors to thrive together, as it creates jobs in our resource sector while protecting tourism jobs by preserving our wildlife and their ecosystems. With construction slated to begin in September, this important project will soon be a real testament to the success we can achieve — as a province and as a people — when we work together toward well-balanced goals.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my office at 250-991-0296.

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.

Williams Lake Tribune