Jennifer Barkved knows first-hand what can happen when a sector goes south…literally. In her early working years, she lived in Midway, a small town on the border between British Columbia and Washington. The region was hit hard in the early 2000s by the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute—thousands of jobs were lost and entire communities were impacted.
Now, Barkved lives with her husband in Fort Nelson, B.C., where they run Gearheads Truck Repair—a commercial truck and trailer repair operation. They’ve done well by the local oil and natural gas industry, though the current downturn means business has slowed. She supports an LNG industry that would restore growth to the region.
“LNG would create jobs and support the economy, not just here in Fort Nelson, but right across Canada,” Barkved says. “From income taxes to gas company royalties, everyone will get a share of the revenues through investments in infrastructure, medical facilities and schools.”
Until recently, Barkved didn’t realize there was a stigma attached to the industry. The light came on one evening as she was enjoying a meal with her extended family. “The subject of pipelines and natural gas came up and I couldn’t understand how they had become so misinformed about the sector,” Barkved says. “Industry has been fracking responsibly and supporting the local economy here for over 50 years. I want people to come to Fort Nelson to get a first-hand look at the way we do things rather than believing everything they read or hear in the news.”
Since then, she’s joined forces with like-minded residents to form the Fort Nelson for LNG organization which has held rallies and brought in speakers. Barkved also participated in Rally with Resources, which sent a cross-Canada convoy to Ottawa in support of LNG. The group also sent 100,000 letters to local MP Bob Zimmer asking for approval of the Pacific NorthWest project.
“I like to think that in some way our group helped sway the recent government decision in favour of an LNG pipeline,” says Barkved.