More LNG prep needed says Skeena MLA

Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin recently returned from a tour of northeastern B.C. in his role as the NDP critic for natural gas development

  • Oct. 21, 2013 11:00 a.m.

THE PROVINCIAL government needs to spend a lot more time preparing northwestern B.C. to handle an economic boom should a LNG industry develop here, says Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin.

Population growth will add pressure on local services and more knowledge about the industry itself is badly needed, said Austin who recently toured northeastern B.C. in his role as the NDP critic for natural gas development to gauge the effects of natural gas and oil extraction.

“Fort St. John is now under 20,000 people but the mayor, Lori Ackerman, said that could rise to 40,000. Fort St. John has to expand its boundaries and build infrastructure,” said Austin.

“Now imagine if there was anything close to that population growth in Kitimat or Terrace.”

Anything close to the kind of population growth expected through LNG development will require roads, bridges, schools and hospitals and land for housing, said Austin.

It’s why, he continued, the province should listen to people like Ackerman and Mike Bernier, a former mayor of Dawson Creek and now a Liberal MLA for that area.

“They know what’s going on and they could be very helpful [to the northwest],” said Austin.

Instead of continuing to treat LNG as an election campaign issue with promises of jobs and taxation revenue, the province needs instead to turn toward governing instead, Austin continued.

“During the election you use a lot of hyperbole,” said Austin. “The election’s over. Let’s do this [LNG industry] properly.”

“To try and pretend there’s going to be 100,000 jobs, that isn’t the case. There isn’t going to be 100,000 jobs.”

“Neither [natural gas development minister] Rich Coleman or [premier] Christy Clark are going to have a say in LNG. It depends upon the customers. It will be made the companies who will want to take the risk,” said Austin.

He did credit Clark, however, for telling northwestern politicians in September at an annual local government conference that they need to develop a regional approach to asking the government for money to deal with any LNG impacts.

Austin said there’s a world of difference between how energy extraction is viewed in the northeast, where the industry is decades old, compared to the northwest.

“Here we have a more holistic approach. In the northeast, even First Nations and farmers, both of whom have serious concerns about extraction, are excited about LNG.”

“If there is no expansion, it will severely affect their economy. The United States, which has been their market, since the development of shale gas, has their own supply.”

“So the northeast gas has nowhere else to go. It’s stranded and that’s why there’s this rush to the coast. They look at this to be a solution to what may be a major problem for them. Without finding a new market, their economy is stuck,” said Austin.

Despite a general consensus in the northeast about LNG, Austin said Blair Lekstrom, a former Liberal energy minister who is from the northeast and Bernier, former energy minister were in favour at one time of a review of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”.

It uses water and chemicals, both pumped underground to force shale gas up to the surface.

“This industry takes a lot of water and when it comes to the top, something must be done with it,” said Austin. “The issue of water is large in the Peace because it is an agricultural area.”




















Just Posted

Global climate strike makes its stand in Terrace

Approximately 50 people rallied in front of city hall to bring awareness to climate change

Bear shot by police in Stewart neighbourhood, residents say

Gunshots were heard in the dark, alarming and angering neighbours

Skeena Voices | Walking between two parallel roads

Lynn Parker found knowledge a powerful tool for reconciliation

Terrace Community Forests harvests $750k for City of Terrace

Money was given in recognition of National Forest Week

Coast Mountain College opens new health and wellness centre in Terrace

College’s eventual goal is to open up the gym and programming for public use

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Takaya, B.C.’s infamous lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Possible Canadian cases of vaping illnesses being investigated: health officer

‘I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping’

Area 51 events mostly peaceful; thousands in Nevada desert

Three more people were arrested Friday on the remote once-secret military base

Most Read