District uses Ottawa visit to address crucial issues

“We spoke about the extended benefits of LNG and how good it will be for everyone.”

District of Kitimat councillors Claire Rattée and Rob Goffinet and mayor Phil Germuth used a three-day trip to Ottawa to highlight three crucial issues affecting the district.

The three were attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ annual conference in Ottawa, and used the opportunity to talk to federal government about its lack of support for the LNG projects in Kitimat, the cutback in funding for the steelhead program at the Kitimat Hatchery and the withdrawal of funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

“We met with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources to say it would be nice to hear that the federal government is supportive of LNG projects in Kitimat,” said Germuth.

“We spoke about the extended benefits of LNG and how good it will be for everyone.”

He said the delegation also spoke about the potential opportunities for expanding shipping to Asia through Kitimat and extended an invite to the minister to tour the District and see first-hand the opportunities that exist for development.

“There is potential for at least $100-billion investment through the LNG projects and the refineries in the district.”

Germuth said the delegation tried unsuccessfully to secure a meeting with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to discuss the cutback in funding for the steelhead breeding program in Kitimat.

They did, however, get to talk with Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen who said he would look into the matter and report back to the District.

“He should be coming back to us soon with answers,” said Germuth.

He said the delegation also received clarity regarding the withdrawal of funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

“Federal government didn’t cancel funding – they changed the rules as to who can apply for funding. This resulted in the bigger municipalities also stepping forward to apply for funding,” said Germuth.

He said the delegation petitioned the federal government to revise their strategy, to get the government to once again provide for smaller communities where the need is sometimes greater.

The District recently approved covering the HPS’ rent and salaries until the end of 2017, after which alternative methods of funding will have to be secured.