Contemplating the current economic recession we are in both federal and provincial governments are planning defecit budgets for at least the next two years. By the time half this money gets into the system we will likely start to see the economy turning around (but that’s another debate). Spending on needed infrastructure is a positive move. The infrastructure across north america including many roads and bridges are near or past their life span. However, investment into new infrastructure that addresses the future power needs of north america is also very important.
Northern British Columbia is home to some of the largest shale gas reserves in North America. However, there is limited access with poor roads and infrastructure to most of the remote areas where the shale gas exists. There is also a lack of pipeline infrastructure. Both the federal and provincial governments should consider various tax driven plans and incentives to encourage more development into BC’s northern shale gas. With a multibillion dollar windfall from land lease sales over the last year or more, the BC government should be sinking this money back into needed infrastructure.
Encana is building a multibillion dollar gas plant near Fort Nelson which will fill part of the needed infrastructure and bring thousands of jobs over the coming years. The BC government could create more jobs by building and expanding the road infrascructure along side the private investments being made. The size of the opportunity in Fort Nelson is comparable to the oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, a massive economic boost to Alberta’s economy. However, comparitive to oil sands shale gas has a much smaller carbon footprint to develope and produce, and is certainly much cleaner burning then gasoline.