Public input critical following filing of environmental assessment documents, says Pacific NorthWest LNG

Pacific NorthWest LNG wants people to know how important the open houses scheduled for early next week truly are.

With the environmental assessment documentation filed, Pacific NorthWest LNG wants people to know how important the open houses scheduled for early next week truly are.

The meetings, which will be held on Monday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Port Edward Community Centre and Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the North Coast Convention Centre, are unlike others the company has held before.

“The public involvement to date, the open houses we have had, we have been talking about things we should study and things we need to study … previous open houses talked about what we might want to look at, this one is talking about what we have done, what we are proposing to do, what the project is and all of the components. It’s what we have done to avoid, what we have done to mitigate and, where we can’t mitigate, what we have done to offset or compensate,” explained environmental advisor Brian Clark.

“Public input is pretty critical. Some have said ‘you submitted, that is it’. No, this is where the public involvement is really important. It is critical the public get in because it is their island, their air and their marine environment.”

The filing is for a natural gas liquefaction facility capable of producing 19.2 million tonnes of LNG per year, complete with three LNG storage tanks capable of holding 180,000 cubic metres of LNG, three LNG trains capable of producing 6.4 million tonnes per year, a 2.7 kilometre trestle leading to the loading berths and gas turbines that produce up to 1,100 Megawatts of electrical power. The terminal would operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

Another component of the application is the creation of a camp for construction workers, which Clark said will provide some amenities while also encouraging people to make their way into the community to support local business.

“The camp is on the island and it is being designed for 3,000 to 4,000 people. Some will be there that we feel would be too much of a load on local infrastructure, things like junior medical staff and paramedics. But things like laundry, things like recreating, all that will happen in the community,” he said.

“We have heard from Prince Rupert and Port Edward that they want these workers out in their community spending their time and money.”

As for concerns about fishing vessels and recreational boaters having access to Porpoise Harbour blocked due to movement of the LNG tankers, Clark said that is not the case.

“It is about 30 minute process of the ships coming in and turning around, but that whole time there is no navigational shutdown at all … if there is another big vessel in the area, those two will stay a certain distance apart by command of the pilot. But there is no restriction on the commercial or recreational passage into Porpoise Harbour,” he said, noting there may be a space restriction around the vessel while it is loading.

“There are some people in the commercial fishing industry who heard a rumour, but there is no restriction at all.”

Another concern Clark clarified relates to the flare stack, which he said most people won’t see flare up.

“It will be used on an emergency basis, which hopefully is never, and for maintenance reasons it should be blown off several times per year. When that happens there will be notices sent out to the lcoal community saying when it will happen,” he said, noting the flare stack was placed at the south end of the island so it is far from the community.

“There will be a pilot on the whole time, but our technology doesn’t require it to be flaring. That is just so that if there is an emergency, you don’t have to run and turn the pilot on … the pilot light is inside the pipe. You will see a small flame, but it’s not like the candles they have in the Northeast at the drill sites.”