KITIMAT Mayor Phil Germuth

Kitimat mayor backs natural gas pipeline

Position in contrast to one taken by Terrace city council

Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth has come out in support of one of TransCanada’s planned pipelines to ship natural gas across northern B.C.

In a letter released today, Germuth says he has every confidence in the benefits of the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline to Kitimat and that it, along with the Shell majority-owned export facility called LNG Canada, which the pipeline would connect into, will fill the industrial void left behind by previous closures.

“Establishing new industries in Kitimat has been a top priority for the municipality ever since the closure of Methanex and Eurocan in 2006 and 2010, respectively. Kitimat has long been a desired location for global-scale industrial production, and we continue to welcome international opportunity,” the Kitimat mayor wrote.

Germuth also states he has faith in the provincial environmental review that was conducted for the pipeline and the adjustments the company made to accommodate concerns. However he also said that the community will not support industry willy-nilly.

“I have consistently stated that my community is pro-industry. That doesn’t mean at any cost.”

In the past, Kitimat has proven this to be true by a clear majority of its residents voting against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project in a public plebiscite conducted in 2014.

Germuth’s public endorsement of the LNG industry in general and the Coastal GasLink pipeline in particular comes a week after Terrace city council voted to withhold a letter of support sought by TransCanada for that pipeline and another planned pipeline to the planned Pacific NorthWest LNG plant on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert.

Terrace council withheld the requested letter of support because it wants the provincial government’s assurance that a share of tax revenue from development will be distributed to northern communities west of Prince George.

The city belongs to a regional benefits alliance of 21 local and regional district governments which has the same objective.

The alliance, through chair Stacey Tyers, who is a Terrace city councillor and the chair of the Kitimat-Stikine regional district, was to meet this week with provincial officials at a conference of local governments being held in Vancouver.

Kitimat is also a member of the alliance.

And Germuth does write that “Kitimat has already benefited from the preparations for LNG development, and we can be hopeful that B.C.’s LNG initiative will pay even bigger rewards in the years to come.”