VICTORIA, B.C. – A company that has partnered with a Vancouver Island First Nation to develop a liquefied natural gas facility says aboriginal consultation must be the top priority for project proponents in Canada.
Steelhead LNG president Victor Ojeda and Malahat Nation CEO Renee Racette spoke to the Canada LNG Export conference about minimizing the risk of costly delays through consultation.
Ojeda says the British Columbia-based company began consulting with the Malahat well before entering the regulatory process or advanced design phase of the project.
The company struck a deal with the Malahat last summer to develop a floating liquefaction facility in Saanich Inlet off Bamberton, about 40 kilometres north of Victoria.
Racette says the Malahat’s purchase of the 5.25-square kilometre Bamberton site was one of the largest aboriginal land buys in Canadian history and that LNG is a key opportunity to grow the First Nation’s economy.
She acknowledges that neighbouring First Nations collectively known as the WSANEC have voiced severe opposition to the project, but she says the Malahat is working to ease their concerns through dialogue.