AS the region contemplates the impact of a potential liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, it would be wise to contemplate a role for the Skeena Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics (SNCIRE).
Formed in 2009 SNCIRE, the Terrace-based regional think tank took aim at the great failing of what had been the region’s main industry, making lumber and pulp products from the forest. There was nothing wrong with the commodities but the region was vulnerable to, and paid the price of, the inevitable boom and bust cycle of the marketplace.
SNCIRE pushed for a change in thinking and in practice. It advocated for the creation of a broader based forest industry by adding more value, making it less vulnerable overall to that boom and bust cycle.
That kind of thinking led to its involvement in studies financed by the federal and provincial governments examining the direct and indirect jobs impact of the Northwest Transmission Line, work which subsequently expanded to include the jobs expected from LNG and the skills needed to secure those jobs.
So news that SNCIRE needs $200,000 to stay in business is unsettling. Given the billions the provincial government says there is to be had in taxes from LNG, it’s an extremely modest sum.
If there was ever a need for an independent regional perspective, one which could aid regional decision makers, this is that time.