Responsible resource development means growing and thriving communities. It also means jobs for our kids and grandkids. And it pays for the vital services upon which British Columbians have come to rely.

Overall, our resource industries have made great progress in protecting the environment while providing jobs that support families and paying taxes that support hospitals and schools. Many companies go beyond regulation to take a balanced approach to meeting the environmental and social needs of the community.

Unfortunately, the disturbing truth is that resource-based projects face unprecedented and often unreasonable challenges from a vocal minority.

That’s why, on behalf of B.C.’s construction industry, I’m writing to provide my strong support for the Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish and FortisBC’s Eagle Mountain pipeline expansion that would deliver natural gas to the facility. Combined, Woodfibre LNG and the Eagle Mountain Pipeline involve an investment of close to $2 billion. These two projects are welcome news for families and workers in B.C.

Squamish residents stand to reap the most benefits from these projects. Think about the long-term benefits these projects will provide, including the spin-off jobs and opportunities flowing to local small business, especially those in the service sectors.

The municipal tax revenue alone could support a decrease in property tax or additional support for new and improved community centres, libraries, roads, parks and festivals.

The added revenue will help Squamish continue to grow into a thriving and prosperous city while also enabling its eco-tourism ambitions. Squamish can seize both opportunities. Responsible economic development does not mean choosing between the environment and the economy.

The construction industry will do its part. We will continue to adopt the most environmentally and progressive construction standards and practices to limit our impact and environmental footprint.

On top of that, to ensure First Nations see the benefits of prosperity, agreements are being arranged. And to ensure the benefits stay within the community, Squamish businesses and tradespeople will be hired first before looking outside the area for workers. This is good news for the community and for the province.

The fact is, our province has a safe history of balanced and responsible resource development. We are good at it. We need it to grow our communities and our economy.

The LNG industry is potentially one of the best things to ever happen to the province’s economy –it is the type of industry we should take advantage of and we need to ensure that it has every opportunity to reach its full potential.

Philip Hochstein
President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.