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Lheidli T'enneh First Nation says West Coast Olefins projects not welcome in territory

Chief Dolleen Logan is supportive of Pineview residents who oppose extraction plant
LTFN WCOL press conference
Lheildi T'enneh First Nations Chief Dolleen Logan held a press conference restating the Nation's opposition for West Coast Olefins projects in Prince George.

Lheidli T’enneh First Nation Chief Dolleen Logan has made her stance on proposed projects in the Prince George area by Calgary-based West Coast Olefins Lts. (WCOL) clear: “We don’t want them here.”

The company has recently proposed to build a natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction plant on a 320-acre parcel of land in the Pineview area.

The extraction plant would process natural gas from the Enbridge Westcoast Energy pipeline, which runs through the property, and extract propane, butane, and natural gas condensates.

A 10-inch steel high-pressure vapour pipeline would be built to transport the extracted hydrocarbons 7.5 kilometres from the natural gas recovery system in Pineview to a storage/processing facility on the company’s 120-hectare property in the BCR site., in an area zoned for heavy industrial use.

This natural gas extraction plant being proposed for Pineview would be a separate but complementary project from the $5.6 billion plastic pellet complex West Coast Olefins announced plans to build in July 2019.

The Pineview extraction plant would contain only equipment needed to extract propane, butane, and natural gas condensates from the pipeline whereas the processes to separate, store and sell the product would occur in the BCR Industrial area.

 Most of the finished plastic product would then be shipped to Asia using the CN Rail line to Prince Rupert.

However, the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation remains in opposition to both projects.

“I make this declaration today on behalf of our members, Chief and Council and administration. I want the federal government, the B.C. Government and our local government partners to be clear in our position about this company and these projects,” said Logan at a press conference this morning (August 4).

“I want the Canadian financial and energy sectors to be very clear about our position. West Coast Olefins Is not welcome in our territory and on our unceded ancestral lands.”

Residents in the Pineview area have also voiced their objections to the planned extraction plant on what is currently agricultural land.

Over 150 people attended a community meeting at the end of July in the Pineview Hall to share concerns over the project, however the meeting was not attended by West Coast Olefins.

Logan said she was contacted by residents in Pineview asking for the Nation’s position on the projects.

“As far back as December 2019 our former Chief, Dayi Pountney stated that our Nation did not support the project after WCOL CEO Ken James told a business television program that the local community and the local First Nations are supportive of this,” said Chief Logan.  

“Then again last December both Dayi Pountney and McLeod Lake Indian Band Chief Harley Chingee issued a statement making it clear that our communities did not support the proposed WCOL project for the BC Site and further, that there would be no further negotiations with WCOL.”

She said the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation has told WCOL CEO Ken James repeatedly it does not want these projects in its territory.

“He is ignoring the fact that we own our unceded ancestral lands and that to gain approval from both the federal and B.C. governments for such projects you must have our support.”

The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation in partnership with McLeod Lake Indian Band is in the process of developing an industrial park of its own north of Prince George, near Summit Lake.

This followed WCOL announcing plans to move the ethylene plant north of the city in May 2020 after residents expressed concerns about air quality if the complex was built in the BCR site – a decision which the company eventually reversed – moving the proposal back to the BCR site.

In February 2021, both Nations said they were close to finalizing a partnership with Prince George-based Formula Capital Corp., to develop a petrochemical complex at their proposed Summit Lake industrial site.

Logan said that this project is still in its early stages.

In terms of the WCOL proposals, Chief Logan also voiced environmental concerns over the location of projects in both Pineview and the BCR Industrial site.

“The air quality in Prince George is bad, sure it will create jobs but it’s our environment. It’s our health risks. Everything goes into the bowl. It sits there,” said Logan, adding that ultimately the Nation does not trust WCOL.

“I want to be very clear with everyone that WCOL is not welcome in our territory and on our unceded ancestral lands. Hopefully, one of these days Ken James will get the message and move on.”

WCOL could not be reached for comment at the time of publication

- with files from Ted Clarke, the Prince George Citizen