Thursday, October 29, 2015

Prince Rupert Council takes "neutral" stance on Pacific NorthWest LNG project

An interesting approach to North Coast development came up following Monday's Prince Rupert City Council meeting, with Mayor Lee Brain providing what appears to be the city's guiding focus when it comes to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG development.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday, representatives of the company provided Council with an update on their plans as part of Monday's meeting, offering up some background on the latest environmental work, design modifications and community engagement related to the project.

Noting that they are now within the final 100 days of the CEAA review, with the company awaiting the findings of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and further engagement with the Federal Government.

You can review the background to the Pacific NorthWest LNG presentation to Council here.

Where the discussion for Prince Rupert gets interesting comes following the council meeting. Where as part of a report on the progress to this point for the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline and the Lelu Island Terminal, CFTK television's Christa Dao, noted that the Port Edward Council has offered its support for both of those proposals.

Mayor Brain spoke to the City's
position on Pacific NorthWest LNG to
TV 7's Christa Dao on Monday
However, in the short portion of the story that featured Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain, Ms. Dao  observes that the same level of support that Port Edward has shown for Pacific NorthWest LNG, is not the case at the moment when it comes to Prince Rupert.

With the Mayor noting in his comments on the status of discussions with the company, how the City is still in benefits negotiations with Pacific Northwest LNG and haven't signed on with the company yet, observing that at the moment the city is being a neutral party. 

You can review Mayor Brain's comments as part of this report from CFTK.

The Mayor's comments on behalf of Prince Rupert are intriguing, offering up as it does the concept of neutrality for the City when it comes to a major project for the region.

Particularly one that at the moment, is the only one of the proposed LNG projects on the North Coast that appears closest to the development stage. A major industrial development which would deliver up to 600 jobs related to plant operations, spur on spin off employment in the region and add billions of dollars of investment into the region.

We wonder however, if that neutral position has the endorsement of the other six members of Prince Rupert City Council, who unfortunately didn't get any camera time as part of the CFTK report to share their thoughts on LNG development.

Considering the impact that the Pacific NorthWest LNG project might have on the community, using the term neutral seems an interesting choice of words for a Mayor and City Council, especially for a group which has been hammering home the message for a year now of the prospect of major economic growth to come for the region.

We imagine that representatives of Pacific NorthWest LNG might have been looking for a slightly stronger declaration of support for the project, which if launched would have significant impact on Prince Rupert.

Though a look back through some of their previous visits to Prince Rupert Council over the last few years, will show at times a rather mixed reaction to their proposed development for Lelu Island from some members of City council.

Beyond any impressions that Pacific NorthWest may have about the lack of declared support from Prince Rupert, the stance of neutrality may catch the attention of Premier Christy Clark.

Who as we all remember from September, had delivered some fairly glowing words about the City's Mayor during the recent UBCM gathering in Vancouver, featuring a closing address where the Premier hailed the Mayors vision and Prince Rupert's future.

We suspect that taking a neutral position on issues related to LNG, is not the kind of vision that the Premier was thinking of, nor will it deliver the kind of future that she probably has in mind.

It's not the first time that the City has remained on the sidelines when it comes to discussions related on the theme of LNG development, other than on their own preference for a terminal development at Tuck Inlet.

There does not appear to have been any official Prince Rupert contribution provided towards the CEAA process for Pacific NorthWest LNG and as we noted on the blog earlier this month, the comment period for the proposed Aurora LNG Digby Terminal passed without any contribution from the City of Prince Rupert.

You can review more background on the Pacific Northwest LNG Project here, for further items related to Prince Rupert City Council developments, see our archive page here.

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