Op-Ed: Kitimat Mayor supports Coastal GasLink

An op-ed from the Kitimat Mayor supports the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.

As Mayor of Kitimat, I wish to clearly express the support that my Council and I have given toward TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink project, which would supply natural gas to the LNG Canada project should it reach a positive Final Investment Decision.

Throughout my time as an elected official, I have consistently stated that my community is pro-industry. That doesn’t mean at any cost, but 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 Coastal GasLink pipeline project is a key piece of infrastructure needed to achieve increased economic stability not only in Kitimat, but across northern British Columbia. If the LNG Canada project proceeds, the construction and operation of both the export terminal and pipeline will bring lasting benefits to the region through skills development, increased business capacity and ongoing property taxes to fund community services.

Coastal GasLink received its Environmental Assessment Certificate from provincial authorities last October. Locally, Coastal GasLink has taken considerable care to find a route that will minimize disruption to businesses, residents and the natural environment. Council and District of Kitimat staff had several meetings with the project team to discuss the options, and Coastal GasLink listened carefully to what we had to say. The resulting route enters Kitimat from the east, avoiding residential areas and the Pine Creek protected lands.

Northern B.C. communities have flagged some potential concerns around pipeline construction – related, for example, to camp management and traffic. With other local governments, we are part of a process that provides us access to project plans and ongoing dialogue with Coastal GasLink. The company has been responsive in the first three years of project development, and I am confident this will continue.

Coastal GasLink has said it will be ready to start construction in 2016, assuming a positive investment decision from LNG Canada.  World energy markets are volatile, and nothing is certain. However, 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.

Sincerely,

Phil Germuth

Mayor of Kitimat

 

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