Tumbler Ridge: a new approach to resource community development

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 76, No. 853, 1983

PATRICK WALSH Commissioner, District of Tumbler Ridge, G. PAGET, Ministry of Municipal Affairs Province of B.C., R.A. RABNETT R.A. Rabnett & Associates

Tumbler Ridge, Canada's newest resource community, has been developed differently than have been other resource communities. Since its conceptualization, emphasis has been placed on the establishment of a traditional municipal government at early a stage as possible. Planning for the community goes back to 1977. By then, extensive study by provincial agencies had shown a new resource town would be required to exploit northeast coal. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs, in conjunction with a consultant named R.A. Rabnett began the extensive Tumbler Ridge conceptual plan.The results of the conceptual plan are evident in the organizational and planning goals of Tumbler Ridge. In every aspect from the election of officials to some financial matters, the town functions as a normal municipality. With the resource companies of the North East Coal Development within its municipal boundaries. Tumbler Ridge has been able to debenture its capital projects against its municipal tax base. The town's ability to function as a normal municipality is enhanced by its control over Crown land it has purchased from the province. This gives it further control over the development of the community and helps in establishing agreements with the resource companies and the provincial government to ensure that housing and service needs are met. While resource company representatives sit on certain municipal committees, their roles are advisory in nature. The community continues to move toward full municipal status and will have a fully elected Council by 1986.
Keywords: Coal developments, Northeast B.C., Tumbler Ridge, Resource Communities, Financing, Land development, Housing, Social development, Mine development, Community facilities.