Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mayor Brain outlines his LNG GO plan to province wide radio audience

CBC Vancouver host Rick Cluff
Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain took advantage of an opportunity on CBC Radio on Monday morning, outlining for a province wide audience some of the details of the city's LNG GO plan.

A project that the Mayor has been trumpeting of late as the process ahead for the city to address LNG related development issues in the region.

The Mayor shared some background on the plan with Rick Cluff of CBC  Radio Vancouver, appearing in the second hour of the Early Edition program.

The project which apparently came out of planning related to an Airport feasibility study is anticipated be completed by May.

The Mayor explained to Mr. Cluff that the Go Plan was commissioned to KPMG by the City, tasking that organization with the creation of the plan that is going to combine the feasibility of the project, along with aspects pertaining to engineering for key infrastructure pieces.

One key question that the CBC host put forward to the Mayor was how the City would be paying for such a project, with Mr. Brain suggesting that the initial prospect of his Go Plan would then be used to approach the province and the Federal government for funding to implement the program.

What has happened is that financially there is there is funding available to have some of the pieces of these particular things happen, some of the key higher priorities. But what we have done with the Go Plan is put it into a cohesive central venue that every one of the proponents can look at, and also we would like to use that Go Plan, then, to approach the Province and the federal government, and say look, if you invest in these particular items then we will be a very successful operation here in Prince Rupert. -- Mayor Lee Brain on CBC Vancouver's Early Edition Monday

That makes for an interesting note for the LNG Go Plan's funding potential, particularly when you combine that wish, with the city's current level of disappointment with the province and federal government, when it comes to the Port Tax caps, with Council looking to garner support in the community to push that issue further with the Liberal government.
Mayor Lee Brain
was on CBC Vancouver's
Early Edition on Monday

How the BC Liberals might balance those concerns with an additional request for funding for a municipal Go Plan will certainly be something worth watching.

How much the City might be seeking however is still pretty well a bit of a mystery, try as he did, Mr. Cluff never did get a dollar amount out of the Mayor as to the cost of the plan and how much the province or federal parties might be expected to put towards it.

Mayor Brain did offer up that he believes that the Prince Rupert blue print is one that other communities could make use of, a model that he believes if implemented by the City,  could show other communities how to handle rapid economic growth.

Another key question from Mr. Cluff, was related to the amount of faith that the Mayor seems to be putting into the prospect of LNG development.

The Mayor again deflected that towards the province, suggesting that the companies have risk funding  and that there is a need for the province to look into that as well.

And so the conversation we are having with the Province right now is that they are realizing that, y’know, at some, there is going to have to be some risk investment, right. That’s why these companies have risk funding available.

The CBC host then inquired if the Mayor was aware of any potential risk funding available from the province.

I’m not sure specifically if they do, but I believe that they do, and I believe that they do have some money put aside for LNG. I think that they have been kind of waiting for an FID, but I think that the Province is starting to realize now that you can’t necessarily wait until a decision is made. Now, we're not asking for hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars up front ...  So that’s not any unreasonable request here. But we are saying that there are probably some kind – kind of one or two key priorities, particularly things like the airport, that will need to be invested in.

Mayor Brain also observed that the the proponents are apparently prepared to put money up front as well, but that they don't individually want to be the one proponent to do so.

He further explained how his LNG GO Plan is seemingly designed to bring all the partners together, including the province, sharing in the investment required into such items as the airport and other transportation and infrastructure needs for the host community.

He acknowledged for Cluff that the City doesn't have the money to spend to prepare for the industry at this moment, pointing again to his desire to impress upon the province as to the possibilities that his plan offer.

We are saying to the Province and to the proponents – look, we welcome you here, and this is a great opportunity for us, but we really haven’t had anything really happen in Prince Rupert for such a long time. Therefore, if we have a little bit of support, that will enable us to actually host you better.

The Mayor also observed on the current state of progress for the prospect of LNG in the province. In the midst of his overview of the LNG GO Plan, the Mayor also outlined some of his recent discussions with Exxon officials from his recent journey to Texas.

Noting that the energy giant seemingly has suggested that they won't be looking to make a Final Investment Decision on the Tuck Inlet project for at least two to three years.

So from their perspective, for example, they are not prepared to make an investment in the next two years, but that doesn’t mean that in the three years they won’t. And so what I think right now is that there is gas in BC that will need to go to market. In this very moment it is possible that there might not be decisions, but we are very confident that within the next three to six years, between Kitimat and Prince Rupert, that maybe one or two proponents - particularly those that have the capital, such as Shell and Exxon to actually do these types of major investments - may do an FID. -- Mayor Lee Brain on the prospect of some form of forward movement on LNG in the Northwest

Mayor Brain also touched on the environmental aspects of LNG development, pointing towards local concerns (including his own he observed) at the location of the Petronas Terminal project on the Skeena River estuary.

For example, Petronas’s project is on the Skeena Estuary, there – that they are planning on doing their proposal – and a lot of people are concerned about that as well, and even myself. So as a Mayor of a small town, my – I have to balance – I have to balance the needs of our community with the needs of the global market.

As we get closer to May, perhaps the Mayor and Council will share the full overview of the city's LNG Go Plan with the public, maybe even providing a copy of it for the City's website.  Offering up more background on what it will provide for the city, as well as to outline the cost so far in putting it into motion.

So far the bulk of any information related to the LNG Go Plan has come through media interviews by the Mayor, with little in the way of discussion of it by Council members to be found at public council sessions.

You can listen to Monday morning's full interview from the CBC Early Edition audio files below , taken from the April 6th edition of the program, the Mayor's LNG overview comes along at the 1 hour twenty three minute point until the one hour thirty two minute point.

For more items related to LNG development in the Northwest see our archive page here, we also have an archive of information available for a review of other items of discussion at City Council.

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