“We want to get this right” was the overwhelming message from both the Huu-ay-aht and Steelhead LNG during their town hall meeting in the Best Western Barclay Hotel where around 100 people packed the conference room on March 31. Chief councillor Jeff Cook said it was essential to the Huu-ay-aht that any company they partnered with on development in their treaty lands shared their values and ideals.
“One of the things that attracted us to them is that they came to us first and said ‘you know, we’ve this idea about an LNG project, what do you think?’”
That collaborative approach is something that the HFN want to stick with going forward. “We’ve always said, we want to improve the lives of our people but not only our people; we want to improve the lives of the people that we live around.”
Steelhead LNG manager of community Tiffany Murray said HFN’s openness to partnering with Steelhead was a driving force in deciding to pursue the LNG facility at Sarita Bay.
“It’s something that’s very unique and special to us,” Murray said, adding that it “set us off on a good working relationship and really allowing us to move forward and explore the project together.”
Steelhead and HFN signed an opportunity development agreement in May 2014 and the HFN voted to move into phase two at the people’s assembly at the end of November. Phase two, Coun. John Jack said, is the “feasibility phase.”
The engineering, traditional land use, socioeconomic and environmental studies that will take place during this phase, Jack said, allowing Steelhead and the HFN to answer the “1001 questions a day” that will come up.
Jack said that one of the questions to be answered is what happens to the site after the LNG facility shuts down, adding that a contingency fund will be opened to fund the site’s return to a greenfield state—something that was met with approval from the crowd.