Business: Morin No roadblocks
But North not wide-open

NNSL (OCT 04/96) - Premier Don Morin insists no one can open shop in the NWT without "making guarantees to invest and protect the life, land and people of the North."

Although the government says the NWT is open for business, without those guarantees "it is unacceptable for any business to open up."

The remarks come in a letter to Gabrielle Decorby, president of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce.

Last week the chamber placed an advertisement with an open letter to Morin in the Yellowknifer.

The letter said the government should welcome businesses that offer economic prosperity, not put "roadblocks" in the way.

"It is not our intention to establish roadblocks for economic development, but rather to pave the way to economic prosperity for not only BHP, but for all partners in the Northern economy," reads Morin's reply.

At a business conference in Edmonton last month, Morin said he wants a legally binding agreement with BHP to ensure the company meets its predictions for Northern jobs and benefits from its future diamond mine.

Those statements drew criticism from the business and mining community, which called them potential stumbling blocks for the development of the mine.

BHP officials have threatened to kill the project if there are too many delays.