Continuing Development Of The LNG Project In Kitimat

Hillary Johnson

With the continuing development of the LNG project in Kitimat, there are bound to be positive and negative effects on the community and its residents. Kitimat mayor, Phil Germuth says the city council and himself have been very proactive in planning for all possible impacts of the expected population boom in the coming months and years.

"Challenges wise, of course, probably the two biggest ones are staffing and traffic. Staffing you know you have a lot of business losing workers in a time like this when you have all these extra people in town. You think restaurants would want to be open seven days a week and yet there is one that actually has to close an extra day because they don't have enough staffing. Then there are housing issues; of course. There are still a lot of apartments vacant and stuff like that."

Accommodation units for the workers are underway and being built in anticipation of their arrival.

"For the LNG Canada project, they have just started bringing there's in; so those are coming, several a day. They are hoping, by next year, to start opening their camp, Horizon  North, of course, they just opened their camp two weeks ago; very nicely done, it's a beautiful facility, good on them. Of course accommodation wise they are also going to have their hotel, the Marriott hotel, up and running by mid-December I believe. So we are looking forward to that. There is the traffic issue, of course, with the accommodation units coming in, but they are staggering now, which is nice. They are not bringing a 100 in a day or anything like that."

The mayor also stressed the co-operation the city has received, not only from LNG but from long-standing operations such as Rio Tinto and others.

"They have certainly set a new standard, easily, throughout Canada on how you can get to a yes. This is how you go about it, engaging and consulting.  The LNG industry has been really good for Kitimat; they are very much engaged in the community. We are also thankful for Rio Tinto for their 5 billion dollar modernization, let's face it they have been the anchor of this community over six decades, and that's the only reason Kitimat was built in the first place. It's an industry town, it's our marvel of nature and industry, and we are very supportive of the industry, the right ones. We are proud to have the industry we do have here now."

 It appears that its full steam ahead in preparing the city for the next phase of its growth. If all goes as planned, the residents of Kitimat can look forward to as seamless transitions as one could hope.

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