Aurora LNG is still happening, as representatives from Nexen Energy were sure to remind Port Edward council in a meeting on April 25.
The representatives from the Calgary-based company, which owns 60 per cent of the Aurora LNG project, attended the council meeting to update the District of Port Edward on the project.
Jason Gouw, the manager of community consultation and Aboriginal relations for Nexen, reminded council how Aurora LNG paused the 180-day environmental assessment to properly and adequately address questions and comments received during the public comment period, which ended in early March.
“We’re anticipating that we will have those responses to the public comments by May 15 and the EAO will hopefully restart that clock on or about May 15,” Gouw told council.
The clock is currently paused at Day 70 of the process. The next stages of the assessment are finalizing the second round of information requests and then the BC Environmental Assessment Office will write their assessment reports, and then get it to the ministers for referral. The ministers have 45 days after the 180-day period to make a determination and then decide whether or not to issue a certificate.
“Based on the timeline that we’re going through right now, we anticipate getting a positive decision, a certificate for the EA sometime late this year, or early in quarter one,” Gouw said.
He told council one of the more vocal groups that Aurora LNG has been consulting with since the project inception is Dodge Cove.
“We’ve had our ups and downs with that community and fortunately recently, we feel we’ve made some inroads with some of the folks on that island that actually want to talk to us and find out what type of potential benefits could come their way if this project were to be built,” Gouw said.
He said the key focus for this year — and the budget focus — is getting the environment assessment completed and getting a certificate. They will also continue with community presentations, engagement with Aboriginal groups, local governments and local business groups. Gouw also said they have been working hard with Metlakatla and other groups to make sure the archaeological resources on Digby Island are protected, since it is quite archaeologically rich.
Coun. Dan Franzen asked Gouw if the rumours about Nexen eyeing a new location for Aurora LNG were true. The latter responded that the company doesn’t typically respond to rumours but in short, the answer is no. Too much has been ongoing with the Digby Island location.
“We feel very confident that at some point, there will be an LNG facility built on Digby Island,” he said.
Coun. Grant Moore told the representatives that he is trying to get a drug and alcohol treatment centre to the area and questioned if Nexen would support the venture.
“Next really wants to address an acute need in the community. It’s not about what Nexxen wants, but what the community needs and where they need the funds and where those funds can help the most number of people in that community. That sort of programming would fall under that.”
Gouw clarified that although the company doesn’t support bricks and mortar — the actual building, which they leave to governments to help fund — they are happy to support programming.