REPORTING · 28th October 2015
Kitimat City Council started off their meeting on October 26th with a public hearing in relation to several lands around the LNG Canada footprint. This bylaw will make zoning changes to land which has been designated as ‘environmentally sensitive’.
Representing the proponent, Ruth Sulentich, from the Consultation Team, presented to Council. “LNG Canada has made significant progress on this project, but the past few years, the main focus of the project team has been on the Environmental Assessment progress,” said Sulentich.
She explained to Council they have been working on many key permits, including the Canadian and BC Environmental Certificates, which they achieved recently. They have also been doing studies which will assist them in making their new design and mitigation plans which they have committed too.
Sulentich told Council they plan on building their project on Industrial zoned land. However, there are three parcels of land zoned as environmentally sensitive land.
“For the plant to be built, the entire foot print has to be zoned appropriately, and that’s industrial. LNG Canada, as well Rio Tinto and the Crown, has applied to the District of Kitimat to rezone these portions of land,” said Sulentich.
She explained the application would rezone 37 hectares of land. 20 Hectares of industrial land will become environmental and 17 would be switched from Environmental to Industrial.
“LNG Canada understands and appreciates that there might be some concern over the proposal to rezone environmental land as industrial. The tracts of land that we’re applying to rezone from environmental to industrial were originally designated environmental in 1992 due to their proximity to the Kitimat River. Since that time, the river has altered course or meandered and the zoning has not been updated to reflect these changes. LNG Canada has conducted extensive studies of the entire foot print regardless of the current zoning and this was done as a part of the environmental assessment application,” said Sulentich.
Dennis Horwood and Peter Ponter from the Kitimat Valley Naturalists came up to talk to the City Council as well. They explained to Council that they were made aware of these changes on the 14th of October and would like some more time to respond to them. They submitted a few questions to Council, which were read out at the meeting along with the answers.
Councillor Rob Goffinet asked the representatives from LNG Canada if the request to adjourn the public hearing to a later date would affect their time table. The response, from Scott MacKillop from LNG Canada said it would be a reasonable request and they would be happy to facilitate the information exchange.
Council decided to put off concluding the public hearing and the hearing was adjourned to November 2nd. A motion was made in regards to some of the changes the bylaw would make, which was called and carried.