Municipal leaders say feds ignoring sustainable development
May 7th, 2010 - 10:00am
SMITHERS– Representatives from several northwest communities this morning told Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen that the federal government is “moving in the wrong direction” on economic development projects in the area.
“Folks absolutely want to move toward saying ‘Yes’ to projects that bring economic development to the area while also striving to protect the environment,” said Cullen, New Democrat national critic for natural resources and energy.
Cullen hosted a session on the Renewal Northwest economic development initiative at North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) meetings here.
“Gone are the days of having to make a choice between jobs or the environment. Thankfully, the economic value of a clean and healthy environment is now widely recognized and something that people are now demanding.
“Municipal leaders in the room today told me the federal government needs to recognize this right across the board, from funding initiatives to tax breaks to environmental approvals.”
Cullen said the strong turnout of municipal representatives at today’s Renewal Northwest session also reiterated the need for community-based decision making.
Cullen noted these views are “right in line” with conclusions reached at the Renewal Northwest session he hosted outside of Terrace this past weekend for over 20 community leaders from Haida Gwaii to Telkwa and Iskut to Kitimat. He noted one of the goals set by the group is to seek out economic development projects that are good matches for the values of the people of the region.
“Retreat participants affirmed their commitment to the health and well being of the Northwest. The workshop helped build the network for dialogue based on respectful inquiry into diverse perspectives on sustainability,” said Mike Ambach of Prince Rupert’s World Wildlife Fund office.
Cullen announced the Renewal Northwest initiative, which seeks to chart a course towards a greener and more sustainable regional economy, at last year’s NCLGA in Dawson Creek.