Feds Announce Haisla Bridge Replacement in Kitimat

John Crawford

The federal government has announced funding to replace the Haisla Bridge in Kitimat -- as part of its investment in the LNG Canada project.

Federal finance minister Bill Morneau was at the Kitimat Rod and Gun Club Monday morning, where he announced the Trudeau government was investing $275 million in the project, with $55 million of that earmarked for the bridge replacement project.

[CFTK PHOTO:  Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, flanked by Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth and Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith -- picture by Steve Ross]

"The federal government saw it as an important part of the investment to come forward with a $55-million investment in that bridge, a bridge that's going to create jobs, it's going to create 100 jobs over the four year period that the bridge is being built, but more importantly it's a bridge that will make an important difference for the community for years and years to come," he said.

Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith said the current bridge represents an era in Kitimat history in which access to an aluminum smelter was built, whereas "the funding that we're going to receive here in Kitimat I think signifies the support for a new era, a new time in Haisla history where we're meaningfully a part of this industry, and other industries that we support in our territory."

Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth said sometimes northwest BC wonders if it's on the radar in Ottawa, and Monday's announcement proves that it is.

"This bridge replacement is vital for our community and region to grow; it is vital for LNG Canada to effectively build its facility; it is vital for potential future investors and it is vital for our province and nation as it will provide opportunity to maintain and expand the connection between our economy and our global economy," said Germuth.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross -- the former Chief Councillor of the Haisla -- said it's important for government to continue its support for LNG development, predicting "KItimat is going to drive the economy of Canada in a significant way for the next 10 years if we keep supporting LNG and economic development in Kitimat".

The $55 million investment is being made through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

Morneau also announced Ottawa will provide $220-million from Ottawa's Strategic Innovation Fund to help fund highly energy-efficient gas turbines for the LNG Canada export terminal.

He says the turbines will minimze greenhouse gas emissions and fuel use.

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