As a former resident of Fort St. James I had hoped that this mine would improve the fortunes of this community. Very recently I had occasion to chat with long-time permanent residents of the Fort and asked if this had happened. I'm not sure what sort of measuring stick politicians would use in this case but an increase because of the mine in housing sales and the population base is an obvious one. Not happening I was told.
Travelling to the airport this summer on the airporter I coincidentally was with a married couple, originally from the Martimes, on their way to work at Mount Milligan. They looked upon their jobs as temporary and had retained their family home with no intention of moving either to the Fort or Mackenzie.
I am assuming that any communities within driving distance of this mine will benefit to some extent by monies spent on goods and services from time to time, but that does not equate to an increased tax base. Of course employment in and of itself is a major benefit to those that need jobs.
It would be interesting to hear from the mayors of Fort St. James and Mackenzie as to what the net benefits of these mining projects are for these small communities. What the oil sands of Alberta has done for Fort McMurray doesn't necessarily translate as a boon for the small northern communities of B.C.
Whether it be mining, LNG plants, or oil pipelines, much is promised, but at the end of the day we would all like to know the reality of the promises.