Abbott pledges northern support

B.C. Liberal leadership candidate George Abbott is pledging to create three new organizations to promote resource development in the North if made premier.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidate George Abbott is pledging to create three new organizations to promote resource development in the North if made premier.

Abbott pledged to create a Premier’s Council on Resource Development, Northern Development Agency and Major Projects Secretariat to accelerate development in the North. Abbott was in Prince George Wednesday and Thursday to attend the B.C. Natural Resource Forum and Economic Summit.

“To me the resource industries are the foundation of wealth in this province,” Abbott said. “All of these are aimed at bringing projects online more quickly. It’s a matter of finding those leaders, whether from industry, communities or First Nations … I need to get the best advice from the best people.”

The Premier’s Council on Resource Development would be mandated to make ongoing recommendations on legislation, policy and investment opportunities to advance resource development in B.C.

The council would be made up of industry, local government, provincial government and First Nations representatives.

The Northern Development Agency would be a regional agency working with local governments and economic development agencies to promote regional priorities like infrastructure development, training, advocating for major projects and promoting trade.

The Major Projects Secretariat would work within government. It would create inter-ministry teams to work with proponents of major resource-based projects like mines to help navigate the application process.

Abbott said he sees the three organizations supplementing existing organizations, such at the Northern Development Initiative Trust, rather than replicating their work.

“We need to have people here, working face-to-face on a daily basis with the industry,” Abbott said. “People within the regions… on the ground can provide us with better advice than someone working in Victoria.”