Guides oppose northwestern B.C. LNG location

Terrace, B.C. area guide is one of almost 50 to argue that the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal would threaten the economy and ecosystem

The Skeena River is one of the last major intact salmon ecosystems in the world, providing more than $110 million annually in related economic benefits to northwest communities, says one of 47 fishing guides, fishing lodge owners and others connected to the angling industry here who do not want the federal government to approve Lelu Island as a site for a planned LNG plant and terminal.

The group has made its point known in a letter submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) which is to submit a report to federal cabinet ministers for a decision on accepting or rejecting the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal.

Andrew Rushton, who has owned Kalum River Lodge for 28 years, says that long before Flora Banks and Lelu Island became common names in the debate over the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal location, he knew that the tidal area at the mouth of the Skeena is a crucial nexus of juvenile fish and other aquatic species and thus important to local economies and the greater ecosystem.

“We were just surprised it went as far as it did,” he says of the environmental review already completed by the provincial government and nearing its end at the federal level.

“Really, we thought that would be shut down because Lelu Island has been closed for development [in the past]. This is really a jewel of the world, this marine area in front of Lelu Island should be protected.”

The letter, released March 9, echoes another one signed by more than 130 aquatic and salmon scientists, also released March 9, stating the location has long been considered a poor spot for large industrial development because of the rare salmon habitat adjacent to it.

But the letter from the guides and fishing lodge owners and others in the angling industry also states the economic case for not allowing projects which could hurt the second largest salmon river in the country.

“My big concern is to risk all those jobs up here that can go for perpetuity,” said Rushton. “Terrace and all these communities rely on tourism and all the ecosystems that are tied into the Skeena River.”

“To jeopardize that would be a betrayal of trust to future generations.”

The letter refers to a SkeenaWild Conservation Trust report that found the fishing and related industries brings in $110 million annually to the region, meaning that over years this equates to a billion dollar industry similar in economic scope to an LNG plant in the long term.

“As a part of our tourism economy, these salmon bring in revenue through local hotels, grocery stores, gas stations, fishing and camping outfitters, restaurants, professional guiding services and lodges,” the letter states. “The CEAA environmental assessment does not address the potential economic risks posed to our fisheries.

“We, the undersigned strongly disagree with the Lelu Island and Flora Bank location proposed to support the (Pacific NorthWest) facility.”

A 30-day comment period on the CEAA environmental assessment concluded March 11 and the agency will now consider the comment submissions in preparing a report to be sent to federal cabinet ministers.

They will use the report to make a final decision to reject or approve the project. They can also attach any number of conditions to an approval.

In the meantime, Pacific NorthWest LNG, which is majority controlled by Petronas, a corporation owned by the Malaysian government, has denied that it will cancel the project unless it gets approved by the end of the month.

“We are continuing to move that forward and we believe we are in the final stages to a final decision,” said Pacific NorthWest LNG president Michael Culbert of the project.

 

 

Just Posted

Cops targeting risky behaviour, auto crime

Holiday campagaigns aim to keep roads safe, valuables protected

Terrace RCMP seeking witnesses in last month’s armed robbery.

And officers will be looking for unlocked vehicles this weekend after Cram a Cruiser event.

First step taken for major in-land port development

City of Terrace seeks financing for feasibility study of Terrace-based transload facility

Regional leaders unite at Terrace Greyhound hearings

Greyhound answers questions, public concerns at Passenger Transportation Board meeting

Terrace rugby player competes with Team Canada reserves

Jared Stephens competed in Dubai after being scouted by Team Canada coach Damian McGrath

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15- to 19-year-olds, including one in Vernon

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Most Read