Voting Down LNG Terminal Is Not An Economic Loss: Tsawwassen First Nation

The Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Bryce Williams (Nov 16/15) (Shannon Brennan, NEWS 1130 photo)

The Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Bryce Williams (Nov 16/15) (Shannon Brennan, NEWS 1130 photo)

by Treena Wood (NEWS 1130)

Chief Bryce Williams says decision against LNG terminal is final

The chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation will not re-open the discussion of a liquefied natural gas terminal on its property after the band membership voted down the idea last night.

The “no” vote won out by a few percentage points and only about half the first nation voted. But Chief Bryce Williams, who had recommended acceptance, says the decision is final.

“For me, the people have already spoken and as long as I’m in leadership I won’t be revisiting this concept.”

Williams says even with this result, he’s not all that disappointed. “I was somewhat on the fence, and leaving the decision up to the members, I think, was the best choice and the best approach to take.”

The band’s chief administrative officer, Tom McCarthy, says the mega-mall going on the first nations’ property plus the band’s decision to open up even more land for development means the loss of the plant won’t have much of a financial impact, either.

“To be frank, the LNG facility didn’t offer as many jobs. Logistics-based warehouse activities [will] actually generate more constructions jobs, and long-term operating jobs.”

UBC political scientist David Moscrop says it may be more of a loss in terms of optics for the provincial Liberals, who still don’t have much to show for their billion-dollar plan to grow the industry. He’s sure Christy Clark has a Plan B.

“There aren’t that many options. It might not be ideal for them — it might not be particularly palatable — but there’s got to be something in the works, there always is.”

Moscrop also says this could be a good learning opportunity for both the provincial and federal governments on how they negotiate with first nations.

“You might be able to make better long-term investments through generating better relationships. So there is opportunity in failure, there almost always is.”

The province and FortisBC haven’t commented so far.

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