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The Prince George Citizen - 2021-11-25

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Regional district move frustrates chief

NEWS

HANNA PETERSEN Citizen staff

Lhedili T’enneh Chief Dolleen Logan said she has lost sleep over the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG) postponing its decision on the West Coast Olefins’ (WCOL) natural gas extraction project proposed for the Pineview area. “We thought we were done with WCOL because we have kicked them out of our territory, and they keep coming back,” said Logan. “I was extremely upset and obviously this is going to put a dent in building relationships with the city and the regional district. Obviously, they disregarded Lheidli T’enneh’s stance on WCOL.” WCOL is seeking an application to construct, operate and reclaim a natural gas liquids extraction plant and associated access road as non-farm use in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The subject property is 12.9 hectares located between McRinny Road and Lund Road in the Pineview/Buckhorn area. During its Nov. 18 public meeting, the RDFFG directors were tasked with deciding whether or not to forward the West Coast Olefins project onto the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) but could not come to a decision. The RDFFG directors participated in a back and forth discussion where some directors argued in favor of process and further public consultation and some arguing the project should be stopped immediately at the board table. Ultimately, a motion to send the WCOL application onto the ALC without a recommendation from the regional district was defeated in a tie with seven directors in favour and seven against. After the directors took a recess, Chair Art Kaehn announced a final decision on the matter would be postponed for a future meeting. “It should have been a hard no,” said Logan. “We have kicked them out and we don’t want anything to do with them.” In December 2020, both Lheidli T’enneh and McLeod Lake Indian Band announced their opposition to WCOL plans to build a petrochemical plant project in Prince George. Despite the original WCOL project being scrapped in favour of the NGL extraction plant in Pineview both nations remain opposed to the company. “What more do they want to know? That Lheidli T’enneh doesn’t want it. That McLeod Lake doesn’t want it and Pineview doesn’t want it,” said Logan, adding that she is 110 per cent behind the Pineview residents who oppose the project. “They build their lives in Pineview so they can have a country life. Who wants any kind of plant up there?” An online petition against the plant has gained nearly 1,500 supporters and the agricultural land use standing committee received over 20 letters from residents opposing the project. Logan added that she is not opposed to industrial development in the city but is in favour of green projects. Once the project returns to the RDFFG board table, the directors will have the choice to either not forward the application onto the ALC, to forward it with a recommendation of support, or to forward it with no recommendation. The project will then be in the hands of the ALC, who will either support or oppose it. If the project gets approval from the ALC it would then return to the RDFFG board table for an Official Community Plan and rezoning amendment process, which would require a public hearing.

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