Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen at a town hall meeting in Prince Rupert in February 2016.

Deadlines can be overcome in potential PNW LNG move: Cullen

“If there’s a will, there’s a way,” Cullen said in his bi-weekly scrum last week

It’s simple really. Pacific NorthWest LNG’s project will be more accepted by the community and avoid protests and court battles, if the company abandons its proposed project site on Lelu Island and shifts to Ridley Island. At least that is what the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is suggesting.

During his bi-weekly scrum to update the northwest region of B.C., Cullen said he has an offer to help the Pacific NorthWest LNG move to a more acceptable location.

“It’s been a very controversial project simply based on where they chose to build. There are other options and we would facilitate the company finding a better place to be that would be more acceptable for everybody concerned,” Cullen said.

How would the MP facilitate the company that has spent that past two years going through the provincial and federal channels to get approval for the Lelu site, and with a tight timeline to export LNG in the beginning of 2019?

“If there’s a will, there’s a way,” Cullen said, adding that there may be a way to start the company further down the field in the assessment process.

“Obviously things like the pipeline component, the basic engineering of an LNG facility, those types of things are well known now by the assessment office.”

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency released its draft report of the Pacific NorthWest project on Lelu and now awaits a 30-day public comment period and for the Minister of Environment to give her final stamp of approval.

The report found that if the company’s proposed mitigation measures are put in place then the salmon would not be adversely affected.

In spite of the report, Cullen said the site dramatically impacts and threatens the salmon, which is why he wants them to relocate.

“If the Premier chooses to be a ‘force of no’, as she likes to say, and refuses any offers that are reasonable, they end up in court, they end up with protests, and the likelihood of ever building the project goes down. The choice is theirs,” he said.

Prince Rupert Infrastructure Deficit

Over the past month, Cullen has been travelling to communities in his constituency to learn more about infrastructure woes.

He said he was very concerned to learn about lead found in the Prince Rupert drinking water. The city’s anachronistic infrastructure for water was brought up at the town hall meeting he held in early February as the biggest issue to address if granted funding from the federal government.

“This is very old and dated infrastructure and it’s very concerning that lead is in water, certainly water that kids are drinking. There are some mitigation measures that the town and school district are doing but they’re not permanent fixes. There’s obviously going to be some investment that is required for the region because so many things have gone undone for so long,” Cullen said.

On March 2, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $75 million in funding B.C. municipalities to build new infrastructure that reduces emissions. Cullen called this a drop in the bucket. He cited that Prince Rupert alone has an infrastructure deficit of $180 million.

Other broad themes on infrastructure that were brought up in the MP’s town hall meetings include bringing reliable Internet and broadband to rural communities, safe and affordable transportation along Highway 16, and affordable housing for low income families and seniors.