Former Mayor Dave Pernarowski says he’ll be pushing for more money for the region in anticipation of coping with large scale industrial development as part of his recent appointment to a new provincial body.
Pernarowski was named as one of 14 people from around the province to a provincial rural advisory council last week, a body meant to tell the provincial government how best it can serve rural areas and, specifically, how to promote economic development.
It’s also being charged with telling the province how it should distribute tax money to rural areas from large developments such as anticipated liquefied natural gas plants in the region.
That’s being called the Rural Dividend by the province and was a key part of a Prosperity Fund to be financed by large industry taxation and promised by Clark during the 2013 provincial election.
Pernarowski said it will be a challenge to have the province provide money ahead of actual large scale developments being constructed.
“I’m not quite sure how that’s going to look. We need to put some of the infrastructure pieces in place before [development occurs],” he said. “Until you get to that, you’ve got nothing really.”
The former mayor did add that northwestern local governments have already formed the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance to negotiate revenue sharing with the province.
Terrace, along with the Kitimat-Stikine regional district, played a large part in creating the alliance which took place during Pernarowski’s time as mayor which ended last year. He decided not to run again.
Overall, Pernarowski looks forward to the work of the council.
“As a former mayor, I’m excited. I spent a lot of time doing rural development work and that’s become a real passion of mine.”
He expects other issues of importance to rural B.C. such as transportation and health care to also figure in the council’s business.
Pernarowski’s joined on the council by two other people from the region, former Houston mayor Bill Holmberg and Roy Jones, a hereditary chief on the Council of the Haida Nation.
The former Terrace mayor was one of 87 people to apply for the 14 council positions.
His work on the council is independent of his employment as the northwestern B.C. account manager for PR Associates, a public relations and consulting company with head offices in Vancouver.