Monday, September 18, 2017

Economic Development Office looks to other projects "coming down the pipe" following Aurora LNG cancellation

There hasn't been much comment of late from City council on the theme of the growing file of dashed LNG dreams, but the City's Economic Development office did have some thoughts on the latest project to be put on a shelf, with PREDC Manager Paul Venditelli offering up some comments for Global BC last week.

In the interview with Global, Mr. Venditelli made note of the disappointment in the community at the decision to end the LNG terminal project at Digby Island, observing how the loss of the proposed LNG terminal and the potential 300-350 jobs it would have brought was a missed opportunity that would have been an important boost for local workers.

And those are just the operational jobs that Mr. Venditelli is lamenting, during their presentation of February 8th at City Council, Aurora officials noted that the construction phase would provide employment for 5,000 workers during the peak construction period.

With Aurora further estimating at the time, that 200 to 400 hundred workers were expected to be employed during the 25 year life span of the then proposed terminal.

Whether the disappointment in the fate of the project from Mr. Venditelli is shared by all City Council members though, is perhaps another thing.

As the cancellation announcements have arrived, council members have not offered up many comments over the way that recent LNG events have played out, with few public comments to this point coming from the elected officials when it comes to the projects that once made for much talk of the region's economic future.

As they did during the course of the Pacific NorthWest LNG process City council remained fully engaged in seeking to shape opinion on the proposed developments during the comment periods hosted by the environmental process.

During the Aurora application period of earlier this year, the City delivered a letter to the BC Assessment process in March that highlighted a number of concerns that they wished to see addressed related to the project.

Council members and the Mayor also had many questions for Aurora officials as part of the February presentation to Council by Aruora officials, with Mayor Brain personally providing for some strong advocacy at the time for Dodge Cove residents, going so far as to suggest that the LNG company might wish to provide additional capacity funding for residents of that community to provide comment on the application.

Mayor Lee Brain and Prince Rupert City Council were prominent 
in their response to the application process for both the Aurora LNG 
and Pacific NorthWest LNG projects. Both proposed developments, 
along with the BG Gas terminal project have since been cancelled.
(photo from City of Prince Rupert video archive )

Considering some of the themes of their commentaries and concerns related to the LNG projects that have now been cancelled, any sense of loss among some members of the Council chamber may not be as strong as it is over at the Economic Development office.

Mr. Venditelli is looking to the future though to recapture some of those jobs now lost from the end of the LNG ambition.

For Global he called attention to the AltaGas Terminal under construction, as well as the recent opening of the Ray-Mont Grain shipment terminal, as well as expansion at the Port as a partial recovery for those 350 potential jobs that are now gone.

Paul Venditelli the city's Economic Development Officer
recently spoke with Global News,  offering up continued
 optimism for the local economy despite LNG setbacks

Venditelli also holds out some hope for a rebound on the LNG possibilities, observing that he believes Prince Rupert may yet have a future in that industry.

He also offers up a suggestion that other job creating industrial efforts may be on the horizon, or "down the pipe" as he puts it, though he did not expand on those themes, or offer up much in the way of background information as to how the City is approaching the topic.

Mind you, the nature of his job with the Economic Development office is to be a fountain of optimism on the potential for the region, what residents may want to know however is how their elected officials feel about the string of LNG setbacks over the summer.

Considering all that talk of hyper-economic growth of but a few years ago, there has been little in the way of discussion during Council Sessions, let alone updates from our elected officials on where the city is placed to attract some of that growth that they indicated was on the way.

More notes related to the Aurora LNG cancellation can be found here.

A review of City Councils themes over the last year is available on our Council discussion archive page.

Correction: our original post featured an incorrect photo of Mr. Venditelli,  we have replaced that with the correct image above, our apologies for the error.


  1. Those are thoughtful comments by Mr Venditelli, but it must have been difficult trying to promote LNG when the Mayor (who knows what the council thought?) came across as being opposed. Aurora might have gotten a more positive reception if it had followed the example of Exxon and sent the City some money, i.e. purchased a 'social licence'.

  2. More background on the City's relationship with Exxon and it's WCC LNG project can be reviewed from our archive page

    As well as our notes on the city's Legacy Corporation