Smithers mayor Gladys Atrill is taking Houston mayor Shane Brienen’s spot as a co-chair on the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance.

​The alliance was formed to seek a new funding agreement with the province that ensures more of the revenue generated from the northwest, remains in the region.

A funding agreement will allow local governments to better encourage economic development in the northwest and ensure that development creates good local jobs and sustainable, livable communities, the alliance says.

Brienen had been representing the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, one of three regional districts making up the alliance.

It has 21 local government members in all.

Brienen is now the B.C. United candidate for the Nechako Lakes riding for next fall’s provincial election.

Given the alliance is directly negotiating with the provincial NDP government for a share of the region’s resource industry taxation, Brienen said it would not be appropriate for him to continue as a co-chair.

Atrill said an agreement could be the single most important advance for the local governments in this region.

“The local municipalities, the financial challenges we have, we spend so much time trying to figure out how to pay for things, that if we had access to some reliable funding that enabled us to take care of capital infrastructure, even just that, instead of grant funding, would require way less time,” Atrill said. “So it’s definitely worth putting some effort into this.”