Open house timing irks SQCRD

The timing of an open house by the EAO concerning the proposed Aurora LNG project has irked some members of the SQCRD.

The timing of an open house and invitation to comment by the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) concerning the environmental assessment of the proposed Aurora LNG project has irked some members of the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District (SQCRD).

Due to the district board’s obligation to attend the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference in Vancouver from Sept. 21 – 25, the board and specifically Directors Lee Brain, who is Mayor of Prince Rupert and vice chair Des Nobels, who is director of Electoral Area A that includes Dodge Cove, will not be able to attend the open house scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the North Coast Meeting and Convention Centre at 4 p.m.

“We have had numerous conversations with Nexen – it’s an ongoing issue with regards to their upcoming Aurora project. We had Nexen in the community about two weeks ago … We highlighted our general concerns with the Aurora project and its effects on the community … [We have] a lot of issues with health and the environment and it will be quite interesting once this process actually moves forward. But this is going to be our first opportunity as a public to comment on this document and begin to sort of shape the process over the next four years, essentially,” said Nobels.

While saying it was an oversight on the Environmental Assessment’s Office to schedule the open house on a day that elected leaders would be out of town and having the date unable to be changed after the district contacted the offices, Nobels said that interaction with the EAO has been largely positive, with more understanding in communications going forward.

He said he is  pleased with the amount of documentation that the Environmental Assessment Working Group has compiled in the draft Application Information Requirements (dAIR) document.

“[dAIR] will essentially guide the environmental assessment process for this project so I’ve been providing comment to them. Up until this point there hasn’t really been any alterations or changes on my part with regards to the document itself. The second draft document is now out for public review and I have submitted several comments on behalf of my community and the board,” said Nobels.

“The document is online as well, it’s 168 pages, it’s fairly onerous if you haven’t been part of the process. It’s repetitive, but it’s extremely comprehensive. This is the bible going forward in the assessment, so it will have everything in it and we have until Oct. 1 to add to it.”

While the public can comment on the dAIR document from Nexen at the open house, all comments received up until Oct. 1 in relation to the Application Information Requirements will be considered.

The report can be viewed online at www.eao.gov.bc.ca/pcp/index.html.