THE JUST-RELEASED study of how northeastern BC is coping with its oil and gas fueled economic boom could be boiled down to a four-word slogan you might find on a t-shirt—“been there, done that.”
And that’s what turns the study into essential reading material for the northwest because we’ve never been there and done that when it comes to sudden and large economic growth.
Formally called “Lessons from Economic Upswings: A Case Study of the Peace River Region” the document is based on interviews of key players and discovers what worked and what didn’t work, and why, when people, money and industry flooded the northeast. The study’s sponsors – Kitimat-Terrace Industrial Development society, the Terrace Economic Development Authority and the District of Kitimat – quite rightly decided it was far better to get in front of what might happen here than to be swept away once it all starts.
The crucial points raised by those from the northeast? Organizations and people need to communicate as early as possible and as much as possible. And as much coordination as possible is needed to avoid duplication of effort.
Put another way, communication and coordination translates into regional cooperation.
That might be a tall order for a region such as ours with multiple levels of government. But it’s not an excuse for not trying because there is really no alternative.