Tuesday, November 20, 2018

With LNG moving forward in Northwest, MLA Ellis Ross calls for community supports from NDP government

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross outlining some thoughts on both LNG development
and BC Hydro initiatives across the province
(from the Legislature video archive)

As plans continue to move forward towards development of the LNG Canada project in Kitimat, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has taken up the cause of delivering on community supports in the Legislature, speaking to the need for the British Columbia government to learn from past major projects to provide for assistance for local communities.

Of concern for Mr. Ross, the need to address infrastructure, housing and health services in the region, particularly with the rapid acceleration of growth on the horizon that the LNG project heralds.

The introduction of a project of this scale will no doubt change the economic prospects for all people, not just First Nations. Between the plant and the pipeline, approximately 10,000 people will be employed during construction. We are going to experience rapid growth between now and at least the middle of the next decade. When more projects come on line, we'll be looking at a two-decade horizon. For many parts of my riding in Skeena, this will be a welcome injection of economic activity, but we also have to be ready for change and embrace this process. We have the benefit of experience in other communities, like Fort McMurray. 

 With progress comes added demand on social infrastructure as well as public infrastructure. I'm well aware of this, because I've already written to the Minister of Health on a replacement for the aging Mills Memorial Hospital and to the Minister of Housing concerning the supply of affordable housing. I've also written to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources concerning the Copper River forest service road that was heavily damaged by a rainfall event. The same applies to the replacement of the Kitimat River bridge, not to mention the preparation that we have to do to get British Columbians into the plant once the plant is built itself. 

All these issues and more have to be addressed in a timely fashion. We have to do it now and get it right or suffer the consequences later.

The conversation was picked up on by Delta NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon, who addressed some of the timeline of the LNG Canada project and recounted some of his notes from his recent trip to the Northwest to learn more of the development and the nature of the impact to the Terrace/Kitimat region.

Moving ahead with his overview of the current status of the LNG Canada project, MLA Ross warned of some of the challenges ahead and returned on the need to ensure that not only the current proposal for Kitimat moves forward, but that other projects make strides towards development.

Everyone is feeling it all across B.C. But the fight is not over. There are more blockades that we'll have to deal with. There are more challenges we'll have to deal with, as well as campaigns to stop LNG tankers. We've got to double down in our efforts to make sure not only that LNG Canada proceeds but that more projects get on the books and get approved in B.C.

A portion of the final commentary was framed to reflect growing interest in the Site C hydroelectric dam and the additional push that it will provide towards industrial growth for the province.

Among his notes for the Legislature, the Skeena MLA also noted how environmental groups are looking to redirect hydro resources to a number of areas across the province, adding that the plans as outlined by Clean Energy BC need to be examined as to practicality and prohibitive cots.

B.C. Hydro confirmed that the utility could provide power for LNG Canada with or without Site C. Now that Site C is to proceed, organizations like Clean Energy B.C. want electrification to be adopted across every energy sector. That sounds great in theory. But British Columbia is a big province, and it's not always possible to electrify projects in remote parts of this province. 

It's a question of cost and who pays for it, even if it's possible. The fact is that Canada — and British Columbia, in particular — is one of the cleanest producers of energy in the world. Everyone wants a greener footprint, but the steps along that path have to be taken one at a time. Giant leaps in technology are not always possible, but it's something that we can aspire to, because just like LNG, it's a part of the journey.

You can follow some of the notes from Mr. Ross from the Video Archive below

The transcript of Monday mornings discussion points can be found here, while the complete video review of the talking points of the morning can be found from the Chamber video for November 19 the discussion starts at the 10:04 AM minute mark.

More notes related to the work of the Skeena MLA in the Legislature can be found from our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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