Concerns about economic viablity led to a decision to scrap plans to build a $37.5-million liquefied natural gas facility near Mill Bay.
The Malahat Nation and the Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG announced in 2016 their plans to partner to develop an LNG facility at the Bamberton site, south of Mill Bay.
But Steelhead LNG said in a press release on Dec. 1 that after exploring the project’s possibilities for almost two years, it has been determined that an LNG facility at the site wouldn’t be financially competitive.
Steelhead said it is “grateful” for the time and effort of the Malahat Nation’s chief and council, administration and community in considering the Malahat LNG project.
“We would like to thank all the First Nations and community members who expressed an interest in the project and took time to provide us with feedback,” the release said.
The proposed Malahat facility would have had an expected capacity of up to six-million tonnes per year, and would have included floating liquefaction facilities moored to the shoreline and minor supporting land-based infrastructure.
Between construction, operation and decommissioning, it was expected to have provided up to 30 years of revenue generation for local, provincial and federal governments, as well as up to 200 long-term positions and training and employment opportunities for members of the Malahat First Nation and other Island residents.
A statement from the Malahat Nation said it is is exploring many opportunities related to the Bamberton Industrial Lands. The release said that while the project with Steelhead LNG is ultimately not moving forward, it was important for Malahat Nation to evaluate the opportunity as a community.
“This was a very important discussion for our community as demonstrated through the high level of engagement from Malahat members over the last two years,” the statement read.
“We appreciate and thank everyone who showed an interest in the project, brought forward their perspectives and provided input. Importantly, Malahat members played an instrumental role in collecting data during the early field studies for the project. We now have more information about Bamberton and the surrounding area that we will use to support our community planning and make decisions on potential future developments in our traditional territory.”
Sonia Furstenau, the Green MLA for the Cowichan Valley in whose riding the project would have been constructed, said the proposed project had been causing a great deal of concern in the area and agreed that its demise opens up other opportunities for the Malahat Nation.
“This project wasn’t appropriate for the area so this announcement is an opportunity for the Malahat Nation to explore other options and projects that have long-term sustainability,” Furstenau said.
“There would have been risks to the environment and safety if the project proceeded. Having an LNG pipeline underwater and having tanker ships move through the Saanich Inlet were concerns on both sides of the inlet.”
Steelhead LNG said in the release that it is continuing to explore the possibilities of the proposed Kwispaa LNG project, located at Sarita Bay, southwest of Port Alberni.