- by Shaun Thomas – The Northern View
- posted Feb 25, 2015 at 7:00 AM
Residents got their first chance to provide feedback on Aurora LNG’s proposed Digby Island terminal on Feb. 18, with people packing the North Coast Convention Centre throughout the evening.
Aurora LNG is proposing to construct an export facility with two trains having an initial capacity for between five million and six million tonnes per annum each, along with up to three storage tanks and two marine berths. Based on demand, those figures could grow to four trains with capacity of up to 24 million tonnes of LNG per year and a third loading berth. The company hopes to file its environmental assessment by the end of the year, with a final investment decision coming as early as 2017.
Attendees of the open house were able to talk to Nexen staff about studies being undertaken as part of the environmental assessment and employment and training opportunities, as well as express their concerns about the project. Nexen director of regulatory, stakeholder and aboriginal relations Shannon Young said the company was happy with how the evening went.
“We were pleased with the strong community turnout for the open house and the diverse representation of the community from residents, business owners and members of the local First Nations community. We were happy to see a high level of interest in the project and people came with a lot of good questions seeking project information,” she said, adding people can expect to hear more from Aurora LNG in the near future.
“We are in the very early stages of the site assessment work on Digby Island, which is the potential site for terminal, and the very early stages of the environmental assessment process. This was our first public open house, but we will be having our first environmental assessment open house in mid-April and will continue to have a number of open houses and other opportunities for public input in the future … we will be opening a community office within the Coastal Business Centre and will be looking to hire for positions locally for that office. We are also meeting with local and regional educational institutions and working with them to look at training opportunities for the community and surrounding First Nations communities.”
Among those at the event were a group called the Friends of Digby Island, which included a number of Dodge Cove residents including regional district representative Des Nobels. Nobels said the company was very open with the group, including meeting with Dodge Cove residents for several hours the night before, but said the Friends of Digby Island are steadfast in their desire to halt the project.
“We have told them we are not opposed to continuing to discuss this issue, but we are going to continue to oppose this project in any way that we can,” he said, adding Nexen isn’t necessarily the target.
“Our fight is really not with the company, unfortunately. The company is operating under the rules, regulations and stipulations that have been set out for it. Our real argument and fight is with the province, who has put forward an ill-conceived and poorly planned operative. They yelled ‘gold rush’ essentially and threw the doors open. It’s just irresponsible.”