FORT NELSON -- Reaction continues to pour in following an announcement by NorthRiver Midstream that they will be suspending their gas plant operations in Fort Nelson.

Leader of The Conservative Party of British Columbia John Rustad criticizing the NDP government for passing what he calls ‘anti-development’ and ‘anti-industry’ policies that are impacting Northern B.C.’s resource sector.

 “Our northern communities are critical to the economic vitality of our province and have always demonstrated remarkable resilience,” said Rustad.

Rustad adds that it is critical investment start pouring into the region to create more jobs, while scrapping the carbon tax to ensure future success from northern communities.

The sentiment is shared by Conservative MLA Jordan Kealy, who called the suspension disheartening while sharing his thoughts with CJDC-TV.

“If a fire goes through up in Fort Nelson and it takes out a bunch of the drier gas for the infrastructure-- it now makes it so they can't ship that gas to that plant, and then that plant is now having to look at suspending its operations,” said Kealy.

Kealy acknowledges that recent wildfires played a role in damaging gas fields and surrounding area, impacting the quality of gas being shipped out of Fort Nelson, but says that points to mismanagement of the region’s forestry industry.

“If we actually properly harvest our forests, we'd have the proper scenario where the fire wouldn't be able to get carried away as far as it has,” said Kealy.

Kealy suggests clear cutting to establish firebreaks, given that forests impacted by wildfire aren’t being replanted.

“If you back off from doing forestry and you see your sawmills close, you see your pulp mill close, it's not a hospitable environment for industry or investors to come back in,” said Kealy.

Kealy is currently running as a candidate for MLA of Peace River North, a position currently held by Dan Davies, who also shared his thoughts on the gas plant’s suspension.

“This is solely due to NDP red tape, tax policy and anti-resource stance,” said Peace River North MLA Dan Davies.

NorthRiver Midstream announced Tuesday June 4th, 2024, that they will be suspending gas operations in Fort Nelson-- the company citing a significant reduction in gas volumes.

Fort Nelson Mayor Rob Fraser says he’s been informed that employees have been given six-month notice of possible layoffs.

The plant employs 48 people in the town of just over 3000.

“NorthRiver remains committed to continuing to work with area producers, the Province of B.C. and other stakeholders on solutions that would allow for gas processing to resume in due course,” said the company in a statement.

“If this government is now cutting back on all the resources, which we're seeing, they're going to start killing our towns and our smaller cities,” finished Kealy.