Pacific NorthWest LNG venue change possibility could have swayed Lax Kw’alaams voters

A rendering of the Pacific Northwest LNG project.

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. – Petronas’ proposed $11 billion LNG export terminal proposal got a boost last week after an aboriginal community on the North Coast voted in favour of negotiating with the company with a chance that the terminal’s location could be changed.

Lax Kw’alaams Band Mayor John Helin says that the band is hopeful that the terminal will be moved in the wake of the vote endorsing further talks on compensation because of the impacts the project could have on their lands. The group is set to meet in the coming days with officials from Pacific NorthWest LNG, and the provincial and federal governments.

According to a Bloomberg News article, an online message was circulated among Lax Kw’alaams members earlier this month stating that the terminal would be placed at one of two sites further up the coast. The message identified two other prospective locations at Ridley Island or Nasoga Gulf that aren’t nearly as sensitive for spawning salman than the current proposed location of Lelu Island. While Pacific Northwest LNG denies that the proposal has been changed, the information in the online message may have contributed to the vote in favour of the band council continuing negotiations.

Helin was elected as Mayor last November, marking a shift in politics with the band council. In May 2015, the band rejected a $1.15 billion compensation offer from the company, citing environmental concerns. Helin offered conditional support to Pacific NorthWest LNG in a letter to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in March of this year.

Story courtesy Bloomberg News: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-27/petronas-8-5-billion-canada-gas-plan-buoyed-by-aboriginal-vote