Catching up after two weeks in Germany, it is interesting that the biggest story and the biggest point of contention here on the North Coast is emanating from the halls of the Legislature.
The ongoing debate in Victoria surrounding the project development agreement for Petronas’ planned terminal on Lelu Island in Port Edward has captured the attention of people throughout the region, the province and much of the country. The agreement, which is one of the conditions for the company to proceed with a positive final investment decision, has many saying the province is giving up too much to create an LNG industry and many others saying the benefits of passing the deal far outweigh the risks.
The project development agreement effectively offers certainty to a company looking to invest $36 billion into a project that will create billions in tax revenue and thousands of jobs.
The construction of the terminal will not only create up to 5,000 construction jobs and about 500 long-term and high paying jobs here on the North Coast, it will create thousands of construction jobs for pipeline workers and maintain work for thousands of people involved in the extraction of LNG in the Northeast.
While the NDP and others correctly point out that this agreement does not guarantee any local jobs, one would have to have their heads pretty deep in the sand to not think thousands of B.C. residents and countless local businesses would benefit through employment and contracting opportunities associated with LNG. Some out-of-country labour will undoubtedly be required for specialized parts of construction and operation, because nobody in B.C. has the experience working at or constructing an LNG terminal, but all companies involved have committed to hiring local and you simply can’t bring in the sheer number of foreign workers that would be needed on these projects. This agreement creates opportunity and employment.
If people want a guarantee, here is one for you: If this project doesn’t proceed, there will be no new local LNG jobs and there will be no new tax revenue from LNG on the North Coast.