Less Fires in the City, More Water in Dry Creeks (where and when it’s supposed to be), and in Dunk Tanks!

A few interesting things happening in City Business.

Big changes to Fires in the City

Over the past couple weeks the City has gone through a bit of a sea change on the fire prevention front and it all comes down to improving Air Quaity.

#1: Backyard Burning Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 8.53.39 AMbanned yearround starting April 16, 2016.

This will not affect campfires but does affect any burning of yard debris on properties in City limits larger than campfire size (1/2 metre).  Burning of land clearing debris and of anything but clean, dry wood has been banned in City Limits for a number of years already.  The ban specifically refers to fires of up to 1 metre that are hand-piled.  Alternatives to this final step will be to bring all your yard waste to the dump (it is generally free or very inexpensive) or hopefully in the intervening year the City will be able to start up a Kitchen and Yard Waste program or otherwise provide a yard waste pickup day for residents to put out their yard clippings in spring and fall.  Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 8.53.14 AMThe reason for the ban is Air Quality.  Backyard bunring in the fall especially contributes to very bad air quality and has led to multiple Advisories over the past few years including the two in November and December shown in the pictures on the left and right.  We ar
e stuck in our beautiful little Valley with inversions that trap the smoke from peoples fires and stoves.  While stoves can be upgraded to burn very efficiently (more on that below), backyard burn piles cannot.  Many other communities like ours have banned backyard burning for the same reason.  I would not be surprised to see it grow to a Valley wide ban through the ACRD in the near future.  Emissions from fires cause major health problems especially for the young and elderly.

#2 Non-EPA Woodstoves phased out by 2017

old_stove_versus_new_stoveDid you know that the City has been in the throes of a five-year sunset clause on all Non-EPA wood stoves?  That means, by January 1 2017, all non-EPA wood stoves must be removed from City residences.

Non-EPA Woodstoves are already required to be removed from properties at the time of a sale.  There have also been exchange programs through the Air Quality council for a number of years where people can get discounts on new stoves by bringing in their old ones.


#3 When is the Tsunami Warning System actually used?

Ever wonder what it actually takes to have our Tsunami Warning System actually used?  Well, it is in our new Fire Control Bylaw in the July 13 Agenda.

  1. (xiii)  activate the Tsunami Warning System in the following situations:(A)  a tsunami warning affecting the Port Alberni area has been issued by Emergency Management British Columbia;(B)  a tsunami warning affecting the Port Alberni area has been issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Warning Center;(C)  An earthquake affecting the Alberni Valley occurs, the magnitude of which makes standing difficult.

Work Begins on Dry Creek Project (while fish being moved too).

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 9.27.20 AMWork has begun on the Dry Creek Mitigation project.  There has already been digging work done in the channel between 4th and 3rd Avenue and behind Smitty’s.  More significant work involving the bridges, culverts and buildings in the area that had to be bought by the City will be happening very soon as well.

Here are some ‘before’ pictures from the Dry Creek Mitigation Study done in 2013. Click for full size.


Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 9.31.01 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 9.28.16 AM

And here are some current pictures from this morning.

As you can see, it’s a big project!  This is all to try to mitigate the flooding on 3rd avenue and also will provide some better fish habitat.  The original stream of course did not conveniently curve around the industrial properties but rather empty pretty much straight from 4th Avenue into where the fisherman’s harbour is now.  But this is an attempt to improve the situation both structurally and environmentally.  Soon, many of the buildings along the creekside between 3rd and 4th will be demolished to make way for the larger stream bed and the added culvert under third avenue.

Dunk Tank!

And last but not least this Sunday, August 2 between 4:30PM and 5PM you have the exciting opportunity to drop me in the dunk tank at the Blue Marlin (former Arlington)!

(Click the picture for the Blue Marlin’s Facebook Event PageScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.10.19 AM)



They are raising money for Ty Watson House.  The event runs from 4PM to 9:30PM.  So come on by dunk some councillors and other community folks and enjoy what they have to offer.  All for a great cause.

4:00-A rep from Ty Watson
4:30-Christopher Alemany (City Council)
5:00-Denis Denis Sauve (City Council)
5:30-Nancy Wilmont (Shaw TV)
6:00-Kevin A Wright (SteamPunk Cafe and Coffee House)
6:30-Sproat Fire Hall
7:00-Cathy Braiden (Remax)
7:30-Beaver Creak Fire Hall

Stuff happening:
Live Music “The Enablers”
Dunk Tank
Lots of Kids activities
Pony Rides
Horse & Carriage Rides
Free Hot Dogs for kids 6 & under. Over that age $5.00 and includes a cold beverage.
Pork Roast Dinner, Corn on the Cob, & Salads – $12.95
Proceeds to the Ty Watson House in memory of Ed Walcot.


Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Family, Politics | Leave a comment

The Double Edged Sword of the Politics of Fear

In the past two weeks we have had two very separate but similar instances where fear has played a large role in decision making.  I’m going to start with the most recent one.

Fear wins over contracts and trust


At the just completed council meeting on Monday July 13th (Agenda) Councillor Minions and I brought forward what looked like a complex motion on the surface, but was really simple at its core.  Here is the motion:

WHEREAS the City of Port Alberni entered into a Lease of Lot A and B of the “Plywood Site” with the Port Alberni Port Authority on July 1, 2014.

WHEREAS the terms of the Lease state that during the first year of the Term the Tenant must commence “industrial activity on the land” or the Lease “will be terminated upon 90 days written notice”, and also “provide landscaping improvements” and these milestones and covenants have not been met,

WHEREAS the terms of the Lease also included non-binding expectations of:

– Shared use of the Parking on Lot B for users of the Beach
– Construction of stairs from Lot B to Lots A/C which public may access to beach
– PAPA provision of utilities required to Lot A

BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Port Alberni give the agreed 90 day notice of termination of the Lease beginning July 15th, 2015.

There are a lot of whereas’s and things there but that was only to spell out the situation as clearly as possible and have it be part of the public record.

The simple explanation is this:

The City and Port Authority signed a lease (Download the full lease from 2014 Agenda here) for Lot A and B of the Plywood site with certain conditions that were to be met within a year (July 1 2014-2015).  Those conditions were not met. So the City will give the Port Authority 90 days written notice at the end of which the Lease would be terminated if the conditions were still not met.

Simple.  No animosity.  No hard feelings.  Nothing secretive or upsetting.  It was a simple contractual arrangement and carrying through with that arrangement, including terminating it when the conditions are not met, means being able to pursue the full gamut of other options, including other leases with the Port Authority, other entities, or something else entirely.

Here is where the fear comes in.  This is fear of change.  Fear of the unknown.  There are elements in this City that live in the fear that our major industries will one day leave and indeed that is a legitimate, perhaps even inevitable, fear.   However, that fear is sometimes a means for manipulation, it can and it has been used to persuade.

Council decided last night to table the motion.  That means aside from statements from Councillor Minions and myself, no debate happened, and the motion was set aside with no vote until a later date.  We had an opportunity to make a simple, justifiable and transparent decision and instead chose to delay for reasons that are largely unknown to the public.

Councillor Minions has provided this quote

If we don’t follow the terms of this contract, what precedent are we setting for future business dealings? What message are we sending to our community about what our word means? I want our community to be able to trust that our word (or in this case our legal contract) actually means something. I want to be a government that our community can rely on.

Councillor Minions is absolutely right.  I think the decision had a lot to do with fear, and that is never a good way to show leadership or transparency on any issue.

Fear wins contracts and trust

Funny how one word can change the meaning of a sentence so drastically.

The Saturday before last, a fire started on Dog Mountain.


As anyone who wasn’t living under a rock knows, the Hawaii Mars has not been on contract with the province for 2 years now and so even though the fire was literally in sight of the base, it was helpless to do anything.

What’s more, the Wildfire Management Branch was completely over subscribed due to fires in Port Hardy, Sechelt and elsewhere in the province.  This all meant that only half of the Wildfire Management Branches mission could be completed:

Through early detection and aggressive initial attack of wildfires, the Wildfire Management Branch is able to keep the cost of fighting wildfires to a minimum.

We had the early detection thanks to multiple witnesses on the lake frantically picking up their phone and dealing *5555.  Unfortunately the aggressive initial attack came up two and a half hours too late.  By that time, the fire had spread down the mountain that all efforts by helicopter or fire retardant line laying aircraft to stop it were unsuccessful.

Thankfully, the forest service was successful in first evacuating and then defending the small number of cabins on the east side of the mountain.  But it was already too late for the fears of the public.  They had warned, including through their elected officials at the UBCM in September 2013, that without the Mars on standby to knock down fires like these before they got out of hand, there could be disaster on the Coast and in the Province. The fact this was happening almost within spitting distance of the bomber just added insult to injury.

Last summer, during a later, but also frightening fire season, a petition gathered almost 20,000 signatures in a few weeks demanding the Mars be reinstated.  This year, within hours of the fire starting, the petition was relaunched and gathered nearly 21,000 signatures in just a few days.

There are times when government needs to settle the fears of the public by taking proper actions.  It’s not about whipping up more fear for the sake of fear (like say, political election commercials featuring ISIS), but about providing encouragement and support to a public that is legitimately shaken.

The public clearly feels vulnerable with the wildfires raging in the province and across the country right now.  I believe the Government of British Columbia has wisely recognized that fear by not only granting a 30 day contract to the Hawaii Mars, but also bringing in resources from out-of-province.  I have heard the Hawaii Mars may be headed to the Interior where it will be able to provide the most help to the most people.  This is exactly as it should be.

This should not be about politics, or egos, it should simply be about using all the tools we have available.  The public was demanding exactly that, and the province listened.  Kudos to them for making something positive out of fear.

I’ll have another post soon about our water and other things.



Posted in Climate Change, Environment, News, Politics | 2 Comments

Long Time No Blog! Airport Processes – And Honouring Contracts – And a New Phone!

The ACRD’s Alternate Approval Process Starts for Alberni Airport Expansion

That’s a lot of A’s!

As you no doubt know, the ACRD is looking to upgrade the Airport by lengthening and widening the runway, adding a GPS route and adding lights.  You can read the justifications (business case) and full details for these expansions on their website.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.46.20 AMI personally support this expansion.  We have a corporation that is wanting and needing to expand their work at the facility and is already doing that work out of country.  We have an airport that, due to our weather, cannot operate most of the year with the facilities that it currently has.  The added runway, lights and GPS will mean more ability for flights to land and takeoff in more types of weather and to do so safely.

The ACRD has committed to borrowing up to $6 Million for the completion of the project.  Depending on whether the project receives grants from the Province or Federal Government it could be less than that amount.

Have your say on the Airport Borrowing

As of last week, the ACRD entered into the Alternate Approval Process in order to approve the borrowing of up to $6 million.  Personally, I would have voted to have a referendum as I have never really liked the AAP, especially when dealing with borrowing decisions, but this is a legitimate process.

If you are a resident of the City of Port Alberni, Beaver Creek, Sproat Lake, Beaufort or Cherry Creek and do not want this borrowing to take place then you can register your disapproval at the ACRD office by signing a Elector Response Form. The details are here. The form looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.59.33 AM


If 2,050 (10% of the total electors in the areas) or more valid elector responses are received by the deadline, the ACRD Board must obtain assent of the electors by way of referendum before proceeding with the bylaws. Forms must be completed and handed in by 4:30PM August 5th.

That Canal Beach Thing

So, Canal Beach is in the news again… and not just because I fell in on my first attempt at a paddle board.  (thank you Councillor Sauvé for the encouragement :P)

11412380_10155735520180204_7021791299187782115_nThe ACDC event was exceptional and a huge success.  However, it was also a bit of a launching point for the question of what to do with the lease with the Port Alberni Port Authority that is nearing its 1 year anniversary on July 1.  To my mind, the question was answered when the contract was written.

That 1 year mark is very important.  It marks the first milestone in the contract.  Here is that milestone:

If, during the first year of the Term of the Lease, the Tenant has not commenced industrial activity on the Land to the satisfaction of the Landlord, the Lease will be terminated upon 90 days written notice by the Landlord to the Tenant, and if the Tenant has not caused the commercial activity to commence during such notice period the Tenant shall return the Land to the Landlord in the condition required upon expiry or earlier termination of this Lease. For certainty, if the Tenant has subleased the Land or a substantial portion of the Land to Canadian Alberni Engineering Ltd. or other approved subtenant  (with the exception of any tenant already occupying a portion of the Land as of the reference date of this Lease), and that subtenant has submitted a satisfactory proposal to the Landlord for the operation of the site, the Landlord will consider this satisfactory commencement of industrial activity on the Land.

The “Landlord” of course is the City of Port Alberni, and the “Tenant” is the Port Alberni Port Authority.

While it is a bit of a mouthful, I find this milestone to be quite clear and concise.  If there is no new commercial/industrial activity approved by the City on the Lot A/B lands before July 1 then the Lease will be terminated after 90 days notice.

At the June 22nd council meeting I introduced, with the support of Councillor Minions, a notice of motion that will appear at the next meeting on July 13th that would authorize the City to give said 90 day notice as of July 15th.

I don’t believe the debate about whether Canal Beach should be expanded needs to enter into it right now.  This is a much simpler matter of adhering to the contract that both the City and Port Authority signed.  It is unfortunate that Canadian Alberni Engineering was not able to secure the contracts from the Federal Government.  However, this is precisely why the milestones were set in place in case that occurred. If we choose to ignore our own milestones and conditions then the City will lose a huge amount of credibility in both the public eye and in the eyes of anyone the City signs a contract with in future.

What do you think?

Should we expand the Airport?

Should we honour our contract?

Post a comment or send me an email or call me!

One more thing! Chris has a mobile phone!

It finally happened.  After 6 months it became quite clear that between VIU, the City, and home life, not having a cellphone just was not working.  So I broke down and got a cellphone.  Note that neither the City nor VIU outright pay for this phone, though VIU may pay for some of the purchase cost, we’ll see.

So now, in addition to stopping me on the street, or email, this blog, twitter, or Facebook, you can reach me or leave a voicemail anytime at: 250-731-7930

Please don’t phone my home number.  I’ll be redirecting any phone calls about the City from there to this new number.

I’m on vacation from VIU until August so I will be out and about in town a lot more.

Have a great week!  And I do hope to post more often.




Posted in Environment, Politics | 7 Comments

Gardens, Greenery…. and Gall. The Power of Community to Overcome Greed.

Grow a Garden, It’s Important. :)

This past Sunday I had the honour and privilege to cut the ribbon (it was even red!) at the Official opening for the Community Garden built by the Young Professionals of the Alberni Valley at 4th and Napier.

Thanks Kama Money for  the nice photo.

Thanks Kama Money for the nice photo.

It is a wonderful space and it has been put together by a who’s who of local businesses and dozens of volunteers all working together to create this important source of local food for citizens.  All of the two dozen plots are now spoken for and there is a wait list.

Long before there were grocery stores filled with fruits and vegetables from farms thousands of miles away, there were people all over the world living off the land and cultivating its bounty.

As the more negative effects of climate change start to take hold and put our centralized, industrialized food sytem under pressure, we will need more initiatives like these to get people back to the land and connected to their food.  IMG_4035

In the future, i believe we will be relying much more own ourselves and our neighbours, and I cannot think of a more wonderful future to live in.

Innovation, Technology.  Betterment of Self and Place.

859757_10152580361315204_1085488828_oIn the past few decades, we have had incredible advances in our understanding of nature, of technology, and of our human condition.  Here is a beautiful new ship docking in Alberni Harbour last year.  This ship represents jobs, opportunity, progress.  Doesn’t it?  Or does it represent log exports, recession, and environmental destruction? Decades ago our harbour ran black like coffee but now it is relatively clear.  These changes were made *with* industry as a partner and an innovator.  Proving, I believe that we truly can have our cake (jobs) and eat it too (without poisoning ourselves).  But at the same time we have seen other changes where economy has trumped the needs of both the natural world and the local community.

So what am I getting at?

Gall – def.: bold, impudent behavior.

Last Monday, the City held its regular by-invitation meeting with local forestry companies and others on issues affecting the watershed.  I was concerned, but not surprised, to hear at the meeting that logging in the McFarlane/Bainbridge lake catchment area continues.

But have you looked at Mt. Arrowsmith lately? IMG_5571-e1423707612327-1024x668 The City relies on the Bainbridge Lake water supply in the summer months in order to supplement water flow when Lizard Lake and China Creek start to get low.  Bainbridge is also our go-to source when China Creek gets too turbid in high-rainfall events in the winter months.  Island Health is currently studying the Bainbridge water supply to ensure that it is sufficiently and reliably clear so that the City of Port Alberni can continue to have a waiver from the very expensive ($$ Million) necessity of installing filtration on our water system.

The forest companies recognize the serious situation for our snowpack, but this sentiment from one of the companies shocked me.

“A lot of the risk are exaggerated as far as quality [turbidity]…. quantity more of an issue…

“Recognize that a fir tree will take 200 litres water… general science says: take away cover… to flush more water into surface water (to help reservoirs)… “

These are my notes of the meeting, so it’s just paraphrasing, but I think the message is pretty clear.  Yes, it is correct to a point (according to the science) that if we remove the tree cover, then more water is allowed to flush into the system more quickly.  But to use temporary reservoir filling during months with the least rainfall, as implicit justification for the high rate of forest harvest including old growth to the exclusion of the inevitable and scientifically proven turbidity, temperature and other risks associated with high rate forest harvesting, I found to be galling and somewhat insulting.  The flippancy actually made me angry.

Environment and Education, It’s not just a Left Wing/Anti-Business Thing.


Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta NDP. Note: This is not an endorsement.

This Reuters article today relating to the NDP surge in historically Conservative Alberta contained this gem:  “Today Alberta is one of the youngest provinces and polls show younger and more diverse population is more likely to support left-wing causes such as environment and education and more critical of big business. The New Democratic Party still only got 10 percent of the votes in the 2012 vote, but an election of a Muslim politician as a mayor of Calgary in 2010 served as an early sign of the changing political landscape.

There is a fundamental problem with that paragraph.  It seems to imply that the young inherently care more about the environment and education (as well as diversity) and that the “old” and big business do not.   Is that true?  Is that how stark our society has become that each “side” is painted so negatively against the other?

I reject that.  Not because I do not see it play out sometimes, like perhaps last Monday, but because it must not be that way, and it is not that way for many good people and companies.  Big business, especially those majority owned by you and I through pension funds (relied upon by the not-so-young), need not stand in opposition to the environment and education.  That is why I posted my “Jobs vs. Green – False Choice” post during the campaign.

11206633_10153184788286251_5143007253263495987_oFor example, consider all of the companies that contributed to the Community Garden Project.  The City of Port Alberni contributed to the project too of course, by providing water hookups, land and other things.

Now imagine if a forest company’s name was on that list because instead of continuing to make excuses and delivering platitudes they promised to shift their private lands in the watershed into a forest-retention strategy that ensured the purest water to the garden and the whole community while also providing unparalleled recreational opportunities in combination with world-leading small patch or thinning forest practices  that created local milling and value-added jobs as well as alternative (food or cultural) forest resource development and wildlife habitat restoration.

Is the economy going to self-destruct and the oilsands shut down the day an NDP government takes power in Edmonton?  Doubtful.  Is the economy of the Alberni Valley going to go into the tank if logging is severely curtailed or stopped altogether in our watershed?  Also, doubtful.  We need to move past these dire assumptions and we need to demand private forest owners stop breaking their historic social contract obligations.  As Stephen Hume recently pointed out in the Vancouver Sun, the public is watching now and the costs of doing nothing can be sky high.

Just like a community garden can host fruits and vegetables of all types given the right conditions to grow and can counteract the increasingly negative effects of our industrialized and centralized food system, we have an incredible opportunity to build a community for all residents and all companies to live and thrive in.  But it is very hard to do if even a handful of players decide to ignore what is best for the community.




Appendix – More from the Study –

Check out this “state-of-the-science synthesis of the effects of forest harvest activities on peak flows and channel morphology in western Oregon” done by Grant et al (200x – not sure when it was published) for the US Forest Service and Oregon State University if you want to see an excellent treatment of the effects of different types of harvesting on peak river flows.   It analyzes dozens of studies over the past 30 years.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 11.02.35 AM

It shows that while different types of harvesting (at left) do indeed change the peak rates of water flow, the biggest changes actually come on the smallest scales.  Runoff changes the most from small rain events, and from smaller areas nearest the cuts, rather than from the biggest rain storms across an entire watershed.  In fact, it is other human endeavours that affect peak flow the most….  “the effects of dams on hydrologic regimes, including peak flows, can be several orders of magnitude greater, particularly where the dams are large and used for flood control (Grant, 1997). Urbanization similarly imposes much larger changes to peak flows than does forest harvest, although less than dams. “



Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Family, Politics | 2 Comments

Transport, Climate Committee, Strange LNG Answers and AVICC Conference

Here we go!

VIEA Intermodal Transportation Forum

On Tuesday March 31st I went down to Victoria with Councillor McLeman for the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance forum on Transportation.  This was a very exciting event.

You might be wondering what the VIEA is… well, I’m not entirely sure honestly.  But my understanding is that they are an organization that has brought together all of the Island’s municipal governments and business and transportation interests to create a united front from which to lobby the provincial government to invest more on our Island.  They have taken up the specific cause of furthering Intermodal Transportation on the Island.  Everything from airports to seaports to freight rail and commuter rail and walking and cycling, fast ferries and helicopters.

Here’s a good video that they made for the Forum last week.

The Forum on Tuesday was a place to meet lots of other people interested in transportation on the Island.  I am hopeful that a comprehensive transportation plan comes out of the effort.  What seems most clear is that in order for all of the things to happen that need to happen, there needs to be cooperation between communities and an effort to figure out what projects can benefit the most people and thus be the strongest to bring forward to senior government.  Keep your eye on this organization, I think it could be important.  Their next big conference is in the Fall.

First Food Security and Climate Change Committee meeting

On Thursday April 2nd, the Food Security and Climate Change Committee (FSCCC) met for the first time at City Hall.

It was just an introductory meeting and the main items were to select a chair, vice-chair and minute taker, go through the terms of reference and mechanics and expectations of the committee and generally just get to know everyone.

The committee members are Samantha (Sam) Brownlee (Chair), Chris Alemany (Vice-Chair), Guy Langlois (Secretary), Sandra Gentleman, John Mayba, Rosalind Chapman, Gary Swann, and Bob Haynes.

The agendas are posted on the FSCCC webpage on the City website before every meeting and the minutes should be posted there as well once they are approved by City Council at the following regular council meeting.  The webpage will also likely be used for other information sharing of reports and things generated by the City and Committee to do with Food Security and Climate Change.

The Committee will both be able to receive input and ideas for initiatives from the public or through its own membership and it will also serve as a place City Council can refer items for further study.  In all cases, the Committee will be expected to report to Council periodically with recommendations on ways to move Food Security and Climate Change issues forward in the City.

The official meeting schedule will be posted soon.  They will be held on the first Thursday of every month at 4:30PM at City Hall.  They are open to the public.

For next time, the Committee agreed to have each member bring 3 suggestions on projects or initiatives to work on.

Steelhead LNG questions – Don’t go looking for Jobs Tomorrow.

As anyone who has followed this blog will know I am more than a little skeptical of the Steelhead LNG project for a number of reasons.  There was a poll recently online at the AVTimes that indicated people wanted the LNG project to happen.  I presume this is because people see it as a big economic driver and indeed it is being sold that way.  But is that realistic?


Sarita Bay – The proposed location of the project.

Right after I got back from the VIEA  forum I drove back from Victoria and straight to the Barclay Hotel where Steelhead LNG was holding their first community open house.   There was plenty of information available on the project, it’s location, the potential for jobs and development, etc.  Much of the same information is on its website.


This week I found the National Energy Board (NEB) website that holds the public documents Steelhead is required to file in order to further their LNG terminal application.  Most recently (March 13th) Steelhead filed a response to some key questions from the NEB.  So what did the NEB ask?

First question from NEB:

Please provide the precise geographical information on the proposed points of exportation of the gas from Canada.

Answer from Steelhead:

The point of export of LNG from Canada will be at the outlet of the loading arm of proposed natural gas liquefaction terminals which are anticipated to be located in the Southern region of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

This answer strikes me as a little… vague… especially to a question asking specifically for “precise geographical information”.   Perhaps this is precise enough for the NEB.  But it certainly seems strangle, especially when the company has long promoted the Sarita Bay location so publicly and specifically.

Third question from NEB: (you can see all of them by going to the pdf)


Please provide:

(a)  An explanation of the apparent deficit in 2045 between Navigant’s forecast of the surplus of Canadian production available for export of 2.7 Bcf/d and the request by the five Applicants to export up to 4.88 Bcf/d.

(b)  A Canadian production forecast to 2050.

(c)  An explanation of any deficit in 2050 between Navigant’s forecast of the surplus of Canadian production available for export and the request by the five Applicants to export up to 4.88 Bcf/d.


Their response is very very lengthy.  But I’d like to point out the serious issues this question raises.  First, and foremost, if one is to believe the public presentations, and the way the public is being engaged so heavily, one would think that this project was just around the corner.  Maybe 10 years away at latest?  It could be a huge job generator, it’s a huge plant, this all seems very good and many would be excited (other issues aside).

So why is the NEB talking about 2045 and 2050? That’s 30 and 35 years away!

Basically, the NEB has pointed out that 35 years down the road, when this project is supposed to be fully built, Steelhead is expecting to export over twice as much gas as all of the gas available for export in Canada.  And that is provided the NEBs own 30 year forecasts of production increases is correct…. which they most often are not.

Steelhead’s consultant, Navigant’s response boils down to an expectation that production from Canadian Shale gas will increase 20% faster than the base estimates.  

In Navigants words:

  1. The NEB’s comparison did not account for the fact that a modeled analysis of a “plus 20%” demand growth rate scenario would result in higher production levels driven by the increase in assumed demand.

So basically, Navigate and Steelhead are counting on massive expansion of Natural Gas production, and failure of other LNG Projects in BC and higher production than the NEB would expect, in order to ‘fill’ the full scale Steelhead project.Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.04.52 PM


Are the forecasts above a reasonable assumption to make given global carbon cutting goals to 2050?  Is Canadian Natural Gas production really going to rise uninterrupted at nearly 3% a year for the next 35 years? And would the first phases of the project be able to pay for the cost of putting in the infrastructure if it will be 35 years before the full vision of the project is realized?

Will we even still be using Natural Gas in a big way in 2050?

I remain very sceptical of this project, and these questions and their given answers really only make me more so.  I hope people do not pin all their hopes and dreams of jobs in this LNG project.  Even the Raven Coal project had direct access to the product (coal) it was going to ship.  At this point… Steelhead might not have access to all of the product it expects for 35 years.  That is a mighty long time to wait, and the world could very well move far along by then.

Headed off to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Conference Friday (the 10th).

On Friday most of Council and the Mayor will be attending the annual AVICC conference being held in Courtenay.

This conference is a place for all of the island and sunshine coast municipalities and regional districts to gather, attend workshops on various topics of interest, and pass resolutions in a collective way to try to influence government on issues of importance to the entire Island.

This is sort of a little brother to the Union of BC Municipalities conference that happens every Fall, and a still littler brother of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities that encompasses every community in the Country.

Basically, it’s a place to learn, and network.  I am very much looking forward to it.  They are starting on Friday with a rally in support of better BC Ferry service.

The official agenda starts at 1:45PM and it’s packed through 5:30PM.

Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Peak Oil, Politics | Comments Off on Transport, Climate Committee, Strange LNG Answers and AVICC Conference