A public information event was held on Nov. 8 for Prince Rupert residents to learn more about the proposed Ksi Lisims Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) project.
The open house was part of the facility’s enviromental assessment application. If approved, the floating North Coast liquefaction plant could begin operation by the end of the decade.
While public traffic was relatively minimal, there was plenty of information on the project for those who did attend to sink their teeth into the plan headed by the Nisga’a Nation, Calgary-based Rockies LNG and Texas-based Western LNG.
The proposed facility, which is attempting to tap into the lucrative Asian market, would export up to 12 million tons of LNG per year, according to Ksi Lisims.
Planned at the tip of Pearse Island just below the Alaskan border and 15 kilometres from the village of Gingolx, the floating operation would take about three to four years to construct, the proponents say, while the operational lifespan would be a minimum of 30 years.
According to Eva Clayton, president of Nisga’a Lisims Government, the project will create career opportunities for generations of Nisga’a members. Opportunities are limited in the sparsely-populated Nass Valley, with many younger members leaving the region for bigger job markets.
“We have a project that’s going to be generational,” she said. “We’re going to be going forward in a good way for the North.”
The project, which was started in 2012, would also bring much-needed infrastructure improvements to the Nass Valley, Clayton said.
When any major industry project comes to a location, residents often have concerns about out-of-town workers and their potentially problematic behaviour in nearby communities.
However, having the facility in such a remote area will mean workers’ contact with the wider public would be minimal, according to Rebecca Scott, communications director for Ksi Lisims.
“The most important thing at this stage for people to take away about this project is that it is very different from other major projects that the region has seen in recent years,” Scott said. “And that’s because it’s very remotely located. So we’re going to be having our workforce up in that site, and not in the community.”
She said the prospective plan is to fly workers into the region, bus them to the workplace, then vice versa once their work spell is over. The session also outlined some plans to provide employment for residents of the Northwest.
For the federal and provincial environment departments to accept the Ksi Lisims proposal, the consortium have to demonstrate they will be able to operate the proposed facility at net-zero by 2030. Ksi Lisims said its plan will be to use power from BC Hydro, while the floating design of the project would reduce the environmental impact of a site-clearing operation.
There are already numerous LNG projects in northern B.C., particularly as construction nears completion at LNG Canada in Kitimat.
However, Ksi Lisims environmental advisor Brian Clark said the cumulative effect from this operation would be minimal, partly due to its extremely remote location.
“It’s so remote compared to everything else, the cumulative impact of this individual project is not large,” Clark said. “For air quality, there’s nothing, because it’s gone within two and a half kilometres to the site, and the closest town is 15 kilometres away.”
According to Clark, the ship traffic to the location would be minimal, with one to two tankers entering the Portland Canal per day at an approximate speed of 12 knots.
Another concern with projects such as this is the acoustic impacts of drilling for marine animals due to underwater drilling. Information provided at the public session said the impact would be “minimal.”
The mandatory public comment period will continue until Dec. 1.
Interested parties will also be able find out more about the project online or via a zoom info session on Nov. 14.
Seth Forward, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View