People on the North Coast should get ready – it is likely going to get very interesting and very, very busy in the months ahead.
When Pacific NorthWest LNG announced a positive conditional final investment decision for an $11 billion terminal on Lelu Island in Port Edward, the reality of such a massive investment and the thousands of jobs it would bring with it will set in for people across B.C. and Canada.
If investors are looking to set up shop somewhere, Prince Rupert or Port Edward is now an extremely attractive option. The same can be said for businesses looking to get a piece of the $11 billion pie.
With this investment decision, which is contingent on having its environmental assessment approved and the inevitable passing of the project development agreement by the Legislature, Pacific NorthWest LNG has laid to rest any questions about the economic viability of shipping gas from B.C. They are not concerned about the cost of construction, they are not concerned about the price of the gas, they are not concerned about the tax regime and they are not concerned about the cost of construction in B.C. compared to other jurisdictions in the world. Even if there is some issue with the environmental assessment, which is doubtful given the mitigation factors and extra steps the company has taken to address concerns around Flora Bank, it tells the world LNG export can be commercially viable from the waters of B.C.
It’s a powerful statement and silences many who have been saying the LNG industry will never come to be in the province. For all intents and purposes this industry has arrived in B.C. and it has arrived squarely on the North Coast.
It means that, for better or for worse, major change is coming. Consider the change Kitimat underwent following the announcement of a $3 billion project that would actually result in fewer permanent jobs in the community. Now multiply that investment and add several hundred permanent operational jobs.
This could be the turning point many have been waiting decades for, and it is closer now than ever before.