Tessa Gill

Pacific NorthWest LNG working to address marine navigation concerns

Pacific NorthWest LNG is taking steps to ensure continued access to Porpoise Harbour, but what that will look like remains to be seen.

Pacific NorthWest LNG is taking steps to ensure continued access to Porpoise Harbour, but what exactly that will look like remains to be seen.

Tessa Gill, head of stakeholder management for Pacific NorthWest LNG, and Derek Baker, Pacific NorthWest LNG community relation advisor, attended the Dec. 9 meeting of Prince Rupert council and said they have responded to concerns about navigational access in relation to the bridge connecting the terminal to the mainland.

“We have raised the height of the bridge connecting Lelu Island to Skeena Drive so that, at most high tides, a ship the size of a gillnetter can pass below the bridge,” said Gill, noting the change is in direct response to concerns raised during the public consultation process.

“It has to be high tide for any boat to use this route … but we have looked into it and people are using this route. People are navigating Lelu Slough.”

At the same time the company is planning for a 2.7 kilometre jetty leading to the loading dock from the side of Lelu closest to Ridley Island, a move being made in order to avoid impacting Flora Bank. Gill said the company is working on ways to prevent the jetty from impacting marine navigation, but said it may be unavoidable.

“We have heard from others that, in adverse weather, they would like to continue to navigate between Lelu Island and Flora Bank, and that is what we are trying to address now … but that isn’t entirely in our hands as there are some safety standards and operational considerations when you have a trestle with vessels around,” she said, noting a trestle of this length isn’t necessarily a rarity.

“I don’t think Petronas owns any facilities with a 2.7 kilometre long trestle, but there are others in the world that are longer. I know there is one that is 4.6 kilometres and another near five kilometres long.”

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