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District approves covenant modification for pipeline proposal

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In a move largely supported by the public and environmental groups, Kitimat Council has approved a covenant modification to allow a Cedar LNG pipeline to run through an environmentally protected area. Cedar LNG map

The District of Kitimat has approved a crucial motion to modify a land agreement with Cedar LNG. The decision will allow for an alternate pipeline route that promises to reduce environmental and community impacts, but cuts through covenant land intended for environmental preservation. The deal hinges on a final investment decision (FID) from Cedar LNG to be made no later than Feb. 5, 2025.

The motion from the Feb. 5 regular council meeting stems from council’s wish for a sunset clause in the agreement, that if Cedar LNG does not make a FID within the specified time frame, the agreement would expire, and the original covenant would be restored.

Conversations with district staff indicates Cedar LNG is ready to reach that decision within the next 12 months, if not sooner.

“Cedar LNG were looking for assurance that approval was coming…and they noted the FID might come sooner, but this is a time frame they feel comfortable with,” Kitimat’s director of engineering, Alex Ramos-Espinoza told council.

The pipeline will supply natural gas to the Cedar LNG site on the west side of Douglas Channel. Should the project proceed, Cedar LNG will pay the district $111,343 for the use of the land in question. The money will be channelled into the municipality’s Ecological Restoration Reserve Fund.

The proposed pipeline route will drastically reduce its length from the original 10 km to just 1.1 km. This revised plan includes a new metering station within the LNG Canada facility, thereby avoiding the Kitimat River, old forests, the Strawberry Meadows neighbourhood, and a Haisla cultural site. The amended plan has received broad support from the public and environmental groups.

Established in 1984 with Ocelot Industries, the covenant aimed to preserve 6.5 hectares of land as a greenbelt and recreation zone on the east bank of the Kitimat River. Cedar LNG’s plan is to use a ribbon of land on the eastern edge of the covenant, amounting to a little more than one square hectare, a space previously disturbed by a dirt road. It’s unknown who first made the road, but is believed to have occurred decades ago, before LNG Canada acquired the land. This company, however, has shown interest in addressing any covenant encroachments should Cedar LNG not proceed with the project.