Pacific NorthWest LNG’s doors were wide open in late July, bidding the North Coast community to come-a-knocking and see what the LNG export consortium has been up to in a Business after Business event.
Dozens of residents and business representatives packed the inside of the company’s Third Avenue location to meet with senior officials who had made the trip north from their Vancouver head offices, including Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW)’s new president and CEO, Adnan Zainal Abidin and Tessa Gill, PNW head, corporate and stakeholder relations.
“These events are really important because it gives us an avenue into meeting with the business community and giving them an update on our project,” said Derek Baker, community relations advisor for PNW.
“We’ve got our president in town today, so [community members] have the opportunity to meet with some senior representatives of the project, and from a community perspective I think it’s important that we do these to have an avenue to get questions answered.”
PNW’s project, proposed to be situated on Lelu Island and ship approximately 20 million tonnes of LNG per year beginning in 2019, is currently under review by the federal government after the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) received the company’s latest round of information regarding the building and operation of a suspension bridge and pier and their effects on marine life in the area.
“We’ve submitted that information awhile ago to their information request. They responded by saying the information adequately answered their questions, so now it’s really in the hands of [CEAA] … so we’re waiting for that decision just like everyone else is,” said Baker.
While the Business after Business function, organized in part by the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce, was well-attended, it’s the everyday questions that Baker and staff receive that really help enlighten the community on the project, the community relations advisor said.
Everything from project news, to job opportunities, to training inquiries, are all handled by the Prince Rupert and Port Edward offices.
“We get lots of local businesses coming in, looking to get updates on the project, inquiring about procurement opportunities, timing of the project and lots of their own speculation on how they think things are going to proceed. And the same can be said for the average community member as well,” he said.
“Quite a few individuals have come through the office wondering what kind of training would be appropriate so they can have an advantage when operation jobs become available.”
Baker mentioned that communication with area First Nations are ongoing.