I had a really good opportunity this week to sit down with some people from the LNG Canada project in Kitimat.
They gave us an update on the status of the site and a virtual tour in a conference room using a really cool drone mapping system.
It is an incredibly huge and complex project, both in technical terms and in terms of all the social, economic and enviromental issues surrounding it.
So incredibly huge and complex, I’m not even quite sure what to make of it.
And I’m probably better informed than most people, having been covering it for basically five years now.
The project, of course, is polarizing, as any big industrial development tends to be.
I honestly don’t know. Perhaps it is both, but most likely it falls somewhere in the neutral zone.
What I do know is:
It is a big part of B.C.’s and Canada’s economic plan at least in the mid-term.
That it has a huge carbon footprint, but probably much smaller than some of the alternative energy project options.
That it is going to provide really well-paying jobs to local residents and a lot of financial benefits to the host communities for at least a generation or two.
Finally, regardless of anything else, we’re stuck with it, whether we like it or not.
Everything humanity does has impacts and very few of us are willing to go back to lifestyles that do not require projects such as this facility nearing completion in Kitimat.
Fortunately we have come a long way from the laissez-faire, damn-the-environment-and-local-people attitude of the past.
I guess my big takeaway from our meeting was that, at least the people we met with, seem sincerely committed to doing this project right and there seems to be a culture of responsibility at the site.
Of course, nothing is perfect. No matter how good our intentions, planning and execution, there is always the chance of some kind of catastrophic result.
But from what I’ve seen and the people I’ve met, I feel pretty good about this one.