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Tsawwassen First Nation members vote against proposed LNG facility

DELTA, B.C. – The Tsawwassen First Nation in B.C. says its members have voted against the proposed development of a liquefied natural gas export facility on its territory.

Of the 139 people who voted, 53 per cent opposed the plan while 46 per cent supported the plan.

As a result of the vote, the Tsawwassen First Nation says it will “not be moving forward with any additional discussion regarding this proposed LNG concept.”

The proposed export site would have processed three- to five-million tonnes of LNG annually, with natural gas coming through an extension of an existing pipeline about 10 kilometres away.

In November, the leadership of the tiny First Nation in suburban Vancouver encouraged its 290 eligible members to vote in favour of the LNG export facility, saying the potential benefits outweighed limited drawbacks.

Chief Bryce Williams said the facility was expected to be “relatively low-impact” and only require a short stretch of new pipeline between it and the nearby Tilbury LNG plant but acknowledged there were some “negative impacts” to consider, namely how the LNG is extracted.

Five to six tankers per month would have been expected at the export facility, which was predicted to be in operation as early as 2022.

The Tsawwassen vote is a likely setback for Premier Christy Clark’s billion-dollar plans to grow the province’s liquefied natural gas industry.

In November, Clark said she hoped the First Nation’s membership would approve the proposal, adding there continues to be demand for LNG around the world, especially in Asia.