Friday, February 1, 2013

Mr. Bennett will come a callin' to discuss LNG prospects for the Northwest

"I know the best way to work with people is to make sure they have a chance to have input so we can forge a path together that will maximize the benefits for the communities and people of the Northwest. Minister Bennett is just the right person to ensure this happens." -- Premier Christy Clark in a press release announcing Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister as her point man on the LNG File for the Northwest

With the anticipated surge in development surrounding the LNG industry, the Premier it appears believes the time has come for some consultation with local communities.

Towards that goal, Premier Christy Clark has tasked Community, Sport and Culture Development Minister Bill Bennett to head north to discuss the "opportunities, benefits and challenges that are anticipated as a result of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) development."

In the weeks and months to come, the Minister will be meeting with elected officials, community and business leaders in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Kitimat to hear first hand the plans for growth and ideas on how to maximize benefits in the region.

The framework of the consultation it would see is to show that the Provincial Government is committed to working with the local communities, to ensure they are prepared for the anticipated growth ahead and that they have a say in how the benefits are realized.

The discussions in Prince Rupert might make for some interesting developments, giving residents some ideas as to how local politicians and community leaders feel about the proposed LNG projects, which will obviously have a major impact on the future of the region.

Of course, while the prospect of LNG development is very much the thing of long term planning, the timeline of consultations won't be a very long one in the short haul. With the Minister not making tracks north for a few weeks yet and with an election on the way for May, what he learns may, or may not make for much in the way of policy, or even a working proposal, should there be a change of government from that May election.

Still, it's always nice to share information, even better to learn where everyone sits on the LNG development blueprints, so far much of the focus on development in the Northwest has been directed towards the Enbridge pipeline debate.

So far much of the main discussion of the LNG plans has come from the open houses put on by the proponents of the Prince Rupert projects, with representatives of both of those projects appearing at City Council sessions last fall.

At that time City Councillors Joy Thorkelson, Jennifer Rice and Anna Ashley led the general inquiries on a number of items regarding LNG development, but those were sessions which didn't really outline much of what they think of the projects or even if they believe that they should move ahead.

Councillor Thorkelson came the closest at that session in expressing her thoughts, advising the representative of the Petrnonas presentation, that the selection of Lelu Island may run into environmental concerns moving forward.

While council has discussed the issue from time to time at council sessions,  as of yet, no member of council has officially outlined on the record what their stance on that form of development in the region might be.

The prospect of the LNG file actually having a larger imprint on the Prince Rupert waterfront, does mean that residents should know more about what's ahead and what officials both local and provincial think about how, or even if, those projects should develop.

Perhaps Mr. Bennett's consultation program will offer up some more details for us, on what local representatives have on their minds regarding LNG development

The full fact sheet on the Premier's tasking of Minister Bennett can be found from the provincial website.

You can review more of the LNG story from the local point of view from our archive page.

Items from Northwest media on the topic:

CFTK-- Minister Leads Community Discussions About LNG
Terrace Standard-- Province wants northwest B. C. municipalities involved in LNG benefits
Northern View-- Minister to discuss LNG (Feb 6-- e edition)

No comments:

Post a Comment