LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz said the signs on Kitimat lawns supporting an LNG industry in the town played a role in the Final Investment Decision made by the project’s Joint Venture Participants.
Calitz was speaking at a cake-cutting ceremony held at the Tamitik Arena on Saturday to mark the signing of the agreement by the JVPs to go ahead with the $40 billion project.
“In this town a lawn sign movement was born. That sign ‘We want LNG Canada’ was shown all around the world,” said Calitz. “That made the difference in getting us to FID. I will remember those red signs forever.”
Calitz said the lawn signs were shown around the world and served as proof to the Joint Venture Participants that people in the district supported LNG Canada.
Calitz went on to speak about construction on the project, reinforcing a statement he made in Vancouver on Tuesday, October 2, that construction had started in earnest the moment the positive FID had been announced.
“In some ways I can say construction had already started on July 1 when work began on preparing the site. The work the crew did was reversible up until Monday evening,” said Calitz.
“The work that they are doing will not and cannot stop again. It is now completely irreversible. The same goes for the TransCanada pipeline that will bring natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat.”
He said what was about to begin in Kitimat in terms of construction would be “bigger and larger than we can imagine.”
“During that process unexpected things will happen – things will go wrong. My message is LNG Canada will be responsive. We will be one call away to respond to whatever happens in this town,” Calitz assured those gathered before him.
The ceremony was attended by B.C. premier John Horgan, representatives from the five JVPs, Haisla Nation Council chief councillor Crystal Smith, Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth and residents of Kitimat and Kitamaat Village.
Horgan said in his speech the decision by LNG Canada to make a final investment decision for the project to go ahead in B.C. would send a signal to the rest of the world that “B.C. is ready to open its doors to investment.”
“This will happen provided investors work together with Indigenous communities that have the rights and title to the land, that they protect the environment, create jobs for the people that live here and ensure that the resources that belong to all of us get a fair return for all of us,” said Horgan.
Horgan took another swipe at the B.C. Liberals, saying the party had put in place measures that made the province uncompetitive.
“We spoke to proponents in the gas sector and asked what was delaying an FID. We were told we weren’t competitive,” said Horgan.
“The former government made LNG the great Eldorado. They kept piling on new taxes, new charges, new fees that other industries didn’t have to deal with.”
He said eliminating the LNG corporate tax, lowering hydro rates for the LNG industry and providing for exemption, delaying or deferral of provincial sales tax had once again made the province competitive.
“We levelled the playing field and made the investment climate fair for everybody. LNG Canada looked at that, took it to their various boards and then we had FID,” said Horgan.
Asked why LNG Canada’s project and TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline had succeeded while Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion project had failed, Horgan said Kinder Morgan didn’t have unanimous support.
“The difference in how LNG Canada engaged with indigenous communities is night and day relative to TransMountain,” said Horgan. “LNG Canada got support from all the Indigenous bands and put in place partnership benefits with them.”
Horgan again acknowledged that LNG Canada’s production process would result in a “significant increase” in the province’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“LNG Canada has committed to the lowest emission possible, making this the greenest project on the plant. Nevertheless, there will be an emission profile. We will work with others sectors to make sure that we will be driving down emissions in other areas.”
He said investing more money in the province’s transit system and electrifying the economy would also contribute to keep the province in line with its commitments to meet legislated emissions targets.
He said this would be made possible through the tax revenue generated by LNG Canada.
“We will see $23 billion of tax revenue coming to the province. This is great news for the north. That revenue will be shared,” said Horgan. “The hospital in Terrace now becomes a very real possibility.”
His statement is in stark contrast to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix’s February 9 announcement that the province had approved the concept plan for a replacement hospital.
Dix said at the time that the province was going to “proceed with all the speed we can to make that happen”, adding they would move onto the business-planning stage, which will detail the scope and budget of the project.
The business plan is expected to be released this fall.
Later that month northwest B.C. taxpayers were told they would be responsible for funding $114 million of the nearly $380 million to replace the hospital.
Horgan added that the tax revenues from LNG Canada would go towards improving law enforcement, education and healthcare. He didn’t specify, however, where and how the tax revenue would be spent in the province.
Asked about the opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline from some Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Horgan said he had met with the hereditary leadership of “some of the Wet’suwet’en clans as recently as last month.”
“We listened to a range of issues, not exclusively industrial development, but a whole range of issues with respect to the hereditary nature of the leadership in the territory,” said Horgan.
“The province and LNG will continue to work with the Wet’suwet’en to ensure that any intrusion into their territory is done in a respectful way and in a way that will benefit the people in the region.”