Our economic future includes natural resource development

August 12, 2016



Op/Ed



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We are living in confusing times. On one hand New Brunswick struggles with a $13.4 billion provincial deficit and an ongoing exodus of people leaving to find work. Meanwhile, there are major natural resource and critical infrastructure projects unable to move forward due to indecision and delays from stalled reviews and changes in regulatory requirements.  It is imperative we begin to realize these opportunities, and take a more proactive, open-for-business approach, vital to New Brunswick’s future. These major projects hold the potential to alleviate New Brunswick’s economic struggle through the creation of thousands of jobs and tax revenues. 

Ignite Fredericton’s Natural Resource Task Force is focused on creating a balanced discussion with respect to responsible natural resource development in the Fredericton Region.  We work here, we live here and we want projects, which benefit our province now and support sustainability for our future.

The National Energy Board is conducting hearings for TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline starting in Saint John from August 8 to 12 and then Fredericton from August 15 to 19. It is an opportunity for New Brunswickers to state clearly the importance of natural resource development to the future of our economy. As a task force, we urge the government to recognize the economic potential and support this project.  We support a clear process, which includes environmental assessments and stakeholder consultations, and we recognize the need for due diligence. However, it is time to stop dithering and move the project review process forward - starting with the TransCanada Energy East Pipeline and Sisson tungsten/molybdenum mine.

Natural resource development has and will continue to benefit the province in a variety of ways from job creation and household purchases to spurring innovation and engaging businesses throughout the supply chain. With six major natural resource projects under consideration, there is $7.2 billion of projected investment in the province, representing a potential of more than 5,000 jobs to be filled within the next five years. 

With respect to the Energy East pipeline, TransCanada Corporation has invested over $40 million to date. This project will not only provide economic relief for our province, but it will generate revenue for every province through which it passes. It will create roughly $10 billion in provincial and federal taxes while creating 14,000 jobs per year during construction, and contributing $55 billion to our national GDP. The natural resource sector currently generates $3.9 billion GDP for New Brunswick alone, and creates over 30,000 jobs. The TransCanada Energy East Pipeline specifically will generate an additional $850 million in provincial tax revenue, $6.5 billion for New Brunswick’s GDP and most importantly, create nearly 4,000 jobs.

TransCanada has completed its due diligence, created comprehensive safety measures and communicated them to communities, conducted three years of geotechnical and archaeological studies, consulted with stakeholders along the proposed route, and used that input to make more than 700 changes to the proposed pipeline route. This project is ready for review and approval.

The Sisson project, privately funded like Energy East, also awaits approval. The Sisson Partnership will mine tungsten and molybdenum from a central New Brunswick deposit. To date, this company has invested over $50 million, but has yet to be approved currently awaiting a decision of the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.  The project has also undergone a comprehensive provincial environmental impact assessment for which it was approved late last year.  With a 27-year project lifespan, Sisson will create 300+ much-needed, high-paying jobs and an additional 500 jobs during the construction phase.

To propel these projects, we have a skilled workforce both in the Fredericton Region and the province, as well as skill-training support from New Brunswick’s network of post-secondary institutions—among them, the University of New Brunswick with its established expertise in six research institutes and five research chairs in natural resources.

We encourage government to adopt a timely and harmonized approach to provincial and federal approval processes.  We also ask that they consider the serious ramifications of further delay or denying these projects in terms of discouraging future investment and projecting a negative image that our province is not open for business.

Natural resource development and critical infrastructure projects represent a key step to a stronger economic future for Fredericton, New Brunswick and Canada. The Natural Resource Task Force urges the government to consider the economic benefits, and the stimulus these projects will provide for New Brunswickers and other Canadians by creating tax revenues and jobs for our youth and skilled work force. We need to get these projects moving. We need to keep our people here in New Brunswick!

Andrew Steeves
Chair - Natural Resource Task Force

About the Natural Resource Task Force

With membership comprised of stakeholders in the natural resource sector, Ignite Fredericton’s Natural Resource Task Force aims to leverage and cultivate economic growth through responsible natural resource development as it relates to near term projects in the Fredericton Region. It does this by addressing workforce readiness with regards to labour market and skills development. The task force aims to maximize commercial activity through the supply chain, investment growth as well as innovation and export. Through collaboration, the task force advocates and creates a balanced conversation around natural resource development in its information and communication activity.

Media Contact:  Laurie Guthrie
Economic Development Specialist
506.444.4686
laurie.guthrie@ignitefredericton.com

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