Residents of Dodge Cove are preparing to take the fight to Nexen after they were informed the company is now looking solely at Digby Island for its potential LNG export terminal.
Nexen had signed an agreement with the Province of B.C. for a site at Grassy Point while looking at the coast of Digby Island as an alternative, but Skeena — Queen Charlotte Regional District director Des Nobels said the company told Dodge Cove residents that is now off the table at a meeting on Nov. 7.
“There wasn’t a lot of information they could give us because there is no final design for the plan they have in place. They were very vague in their answers and people were not happy with that. The one piece of information they could give us is that they had severed their ties with the province for the Grassy Point application and Digby Island South was now their preferred location … that sent quite a ripple through the community in terms of that being one of the only hopes we had left,” he told directors of the Skeena – Queen Charlotte Regional District on Nov. 21.
“Many people in the community were quite taken aback by the fact that they were not as well prepared as we had expected them to be coming to a community o field questions … they were quite open about providing the community with service and a few other things we might be looking for, but we indicated quite clearly that they had nothing we were looking for. They had nothing to offer us and what they had we don’t value. I think they left with the idea the community was not supportive of the project.”
However, Nexen said no final site decision has been made.
“Based on work completed to date, we are pleased to be moving our project forward by progressing further our site evaluation at Digby Island … the decision to proceed with further assessment work on Digby Island doesn’t constitute a final site decision. This is part of a comprehensive, multi-year review process,” said a spokesperson, noting the sole proponent agreement for Aurora LNG has been moved from Grassy Point to Digby Island.
Following the meeting with Nexen representatives, a community meeting was held in Dodge Cove on Nov. 12, a meeting that Nobels said showed just how united residents are.
“Many people are quite stressed in my community right now in terms of where they’re viewing themselves in the future. Their community and their personal futures are quite nebulous at this point … the community is rallying now and actively putting together a campaign they feel would allow us to take on Nexen in terms of this project … the court of public opinion is the only place we may be able to find some resolve to this,” he said, noting many people are putting together impact statements about how the development would affect them.
“My community is not opposed to LNG, in fact believe there is some opportunity, but why does it have to be built right on top of residential areas?”