Coastal GasLink and the District of Houston council are scheduled to meet Oct. 4 to go over any local issues regarding the pipeline company’s construction of a natural gas pipeline from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada gas liquefaction plant under construction at Kitimat.
The meeting is the second between the two this year — the first was on May 16 — and follows a commitment made by Coastal GasLink to meet twice a year with local governments, First Nations and others along its pipeline route.
At the heart of the meetings is Coastal GasLink’s socio-economic effects management plan which formed part of its application to the provincial environmental assessment office for approval to construct the 670km pipeline.
That plan lists 14 potential effects from the project, ranging from its economic impact on smaller communities, limited participation in pipeline contracting opportunities, a skilled labour shortage, increased demands on local social services, emergency services, and recreation facilities and the prospect of reductions in rental housing and commercial space.
Coastal GasLink released in July its assessment of its progress for the first six months of 2019 in reducing any impacts as well as business and employment opportunities connected to its project, primarily through meetings with 16 provincial ministries or agencies, 19 First Nations, 18 local governments, local chambers of commerce and other groups.
The company said it has let $725 million in contracts to B.C. companies so far, 21 per cent of the $3.43 billion in contracts it has awarded.
And Coastal GasLink says it intends to “maximize contracting and employment opportunities for indigenous and local communities and businesses through the prime contractors and subcontractors or contracts directly with the project.”
A key portion of Coastal GasLink’s efforts is avoiding impacts on rental housing.
“We do not have any figures regarding how many people may be staying in rental accommodation, however, we would not expect this to be significant as the majority of people working on the project right now are housed in Coastal GasLink workforce accommodation sites,” said company official Suzanne Wilton.
“Additionally, we have a limited number of people working on the project right now with peak employment expected next year as mainline construction gets underway.”
Locally, Coastal GasLink is preparing a site south of Houston for one large camp and has leased a location in Houston for an equipment and supplies storage yard.
Its prime contractors who will be building sections of the pipeline to the east and to the west, Macro-Spiecapag Joint Venture, known as (MSJV), and Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction, have also established a presence in the area.
Aside from contacts with government agencies, First Nations, local governments, local chambers of commerce and other bodies, Wilton said Coastal GasLink encourages anyone with concerns to make direct contact via email or by telephone.
“We take all complaints and concerns seriously and wherever possible seek to address them,” she said.
“Coastal GasLink values our relationships with our vendors and contractors, as well as their privacy. We are fair and honest in our dealings and along with our contractors, work with customers and suppliers to ensure obligations are honoured.”