VICTORIA—Premier Christy Clark says a renewed 20-year Peace River Agreement provides annual payments totalling $1.1 billion to resource-rich communities in British Columbia’s northeast.
Community leaders had complained earlier this year about the government’s plans to cap annual grants they had been receiving.
Many of the communities are rural, with limited tax bases. Since 2005, a memorandum of understanding known locally as the Fair Share agreement has provided infrastructure funds to the communities from the government.
Clark said the renewed agreement will provide annual payments of $50 million to communities starting next year, with payments gradually increasing until the deal expires in 2035. The premier said there is also a signing bonus of $3 million to share.
The communities received $46 million this year. The grant payments were growing at about 8.7 per cent annually, now the government has set that at two per cent, which reflects the rate of annual economic growth.
Clark said the renewed agreement is in the best interests of the area and B.C.
“We can’t take all of the resources out of communities like this and not leave more of it here,” she said. “That’s what fair share has always been about from the very beginning.”