June 19, 2017
Last week, the Government of the Northwest Territories was in Inuvik for the Arctic Energy and Emerging Technologies conference.
As part of the conference, representatives from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment's Client Services and Community Relations division to launch a new public education initiative: Resources and Energy Development Information (REDI).
We sat down with REDI project manager Valerie Gordon to answer some questions about this new program.
What is REDI?
REDI stands for Resources and Energy Development Information.
It is a public education initiative designed to ensure that NWT residents have an understanding of what energy and non-renewable resources exist in the NWT; what is entailed in their development – and the benefits that can be realized from their development.
The overall REDI initiative has three parts to it: trade-show format open house events designed to offer opportunities for face to face engagement with residents in their communities; a website for online access; and a formalized educational component for delivery to students in a class room setting.
Why has REDI been developed?
Our government has committed in its mandate to ensuring that NWT residents have meaningful opportunities to participate in the assessment of potential benefits and risks associated with resource development. The REDI Initiative is one of the ways that we are doing that.
The GNWT has also committed in its mandate to evolving our territory’s legislative and regulatory environment to reflect the vision and priorities that NWT residents have for responsible and sustainable land and resource management. The pubic engagement process by which we will do this will require meaningful consultation and is reliant on having an informed populace.
Why choose the trade show format?
The REDI trade show is designed to encourage the exchange of information. Participants are encouraged to ask questions that they have about energy and resource development in the NWT. Subject matter experts will be on hand to provide answers.
We think the drop-by trade show format provides a more-intimate 1-1 opportunity for residents to ask questions that they may not want to ask in a public town-hall setting. The individualized approach is less likely to get hijacked by a louder self-interested party or group.
Will REDI always look like this?
For our inaugural presentation in Inuvik, we were happy to have a full representation of government departments and partners whose work relates or contributes to resource and energy development in the NWT. Future events can be smaller or adapted to meet requested or anticipated focuses.
What if the attending subject matter experts cannot answer the questions?
If residents have a question that could not be answered or that they forget to ask, we have established a means for them to put it their question in a box on site, or send it to us electronically or by mail and we will answer their question directly.
All of the questions that we receive will help to guide the preparation and development of future community visits, the REDI website and future educational products. As the REDI initiative grows, so will its capacity to anticipate and provide the information needed by NWT residents.
Will this include information from outside government?
The REDI Initiative is an NWT-wide initiative. It involves more than just GNWT officials and can and will include representatives from NWT regulatory boards, agencies and stakeholder organizations.
The information and expertise that it presents is organized not according to GNWT mandates or departments, but in themes we feel reflect areas of concern to NWT residents. In addition to the immediate areas of mining, oil and gas and alternate energies, these themes include related areas of concern like land claims, regulatory enforcement and environmental protection.
Where and when will the REDI Open House events occur?
We are putting that schedule together now. We are hoping that the REDI initiative can precede or accompany energy and resource related events including planned GNWT consultation and engagements in the upcoming year on post-Devolution legislative initiatives like the Mineral Resources Act, the Petroleum Resources Act, the Oil and Gas Strategy and so on.