A council committee has given their blessing for city staff to try to capitalize on one of the provincial government's election promises.
Members of the finance and audit committee gave the go-ahead for the development of a natural resource sharing agreement for northern B.C. communities on Monday afternoon.
As part of their 2013 election platform, the B.C. Liberals stated they would "commence revenue sharing discussing with rural resource communities, especially those in Northwest B.C. to help them prepare for future growth."
Last year, Prince George sent a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities requesting the province make such a commitment for agreements with communities asking for them.
"This is a proposal that suggests new tax revenues that come from LNG mining and forestry in the north be redirected to all northern communities based on an agreement that allows for those communities to participate when they might not have the ability to directly negotiate with the province," said city policy initiatives manager Wendy Nordin.
Under the agreement, communities would receive a proportional share of the revenues which could then be used for qualifying projects such as capital improvements to infrastructure.
Mayor Shari Green, who took over as chair of the finance and audit committee after Coun. Cameron Stolz stepped down from the role, said she liked the idea of a "robust, cohesive conversation" that could lead to a successful strategy instead of one-off requests from individual communities.
Stolz said the proposal builds off what he heard at last month's UBCM convention in Vancouver at a seminar with Finance Minister Mike de Jong.
"His comment was 'we would like to see northern B.C. share in revenue that comes from LNG,'" Stolz said. "The key thing he stressed over and over again, though, was don't be spending money before you have it and don't ask for money before we have it. So to come up with a policy makes sense."