Province should come to where the industry is

For those keeping track, there are now seven companies seeking to construct an LNG export terminal in the Prince Rupert area.

For those keeping track, there are now seven companies seeking to construct an LNG export terminal in the Prince Rupert area.

This week Orca LNG joined Pacific NorthWest LNG at Lelu Island, the BG Group on Ridley Island, WCC LNG across the harbour on Lot 444, Woodside LNG at Grassy Point, Aurora LNG at either Grassy Point or Digby Island and Watson Island LNG on Watson Island. That is to say nothing of Triton LNG, which is weighing its options between Kitimat an Prince Rupert.

Couple that with the three LNG terminals proposed for Kitimat, one at Kitsault and one in Stewart and the map of northwestern B.C. quickly fills up with the 13 potential LNG projects along the North Coast.

All told, there are 17 projects proposed throughout the province, despite most experts anticipating only three to four of the terminals to come to fruition. Some of the projects have significant international support and are far along in the environmental assessment process while others are just getting started.

With the most advanced of the terminal plans located in the region, there is no doubt that the Northwest should be at the top of the list of priorities for Christy Clark, who is determined to see the industry grow. After all, if the Northwest doesn’t succeed and meet the needs of industry it is unlikely the industry reaches its potential.

And yet that sense of urgency doesn’t seem to be there. People with legitimate concerns are having them heard by proponents who are more than happy to listen and take those concerns under advisement, but the opportunity for people to talk directly to the decision makers in Victoria has been few and far between. In the battle for public support, the opponents are getting their message out loud and clear in the region while the province has been largely absent in telling people in the Northwest why LNG is being pursued.

Instead, as usual, they are holed up in the Lower Mainland where the votes – but not the LNG industry – are going to be found. If they want the industry to grow, they need to come to the communities where people will be hardest hit.