A chat with the Municipality of the District of Guysborough on Canada’s LNG industry

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Gordon MacDonald, Director of Economic Development, Municipality of the District of Guysborough
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Gastech News interviews the Director of Economic development at the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, Gordon MacDonald. This is the second of a two-part interview, read part one “Interconnectivity between key players to develop LNG projects in Eastern Canada”.

Gastech News: Employment and workforce opportunities for big LNG projects are probably an aspect that the Municipality is very much wanting to engage with and promote, is that the case for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough?

Gordon MacDonald: It certainly is; we need to develop a healthier demographic mix. We’ve got, like most parts of rural Canada and Nova Scotia, a relatively ageing demographic mix which is not healthy. They’re beautiful areas to live, but to live in those areas you have to have a job and that’s well recognised. We try to do it in a balanced manner which is properly planned. We have zones that have been approved for certain types of development. But at the end of the day, we have over 300km of coastline in Nova Scotia so we want to use about 1-2km of that entire 300km coastline for industrial development, it’s about doing things in balance. We have a traditionally resource-based economy: forestry, fisheries, and mining – that’s our history, so this would offer some diversification for the municipality. We’re a little bit unique in that only approximately 50 percent of the revenue that the Municipality takes in is derived from taxation. The rest is from businesses that we run. Our residents understand the reasons why we’re able to offer the programs and services that we do.

Gastech News: It sounds as though, from the project proponent side, the kind of local support and advocacy they would need on their behalf to help support the building of such infrastructure. In terms of a project's final investment decision, once they’ve reached all the necessary approvals, are there any key milestones specifically related to the sites that come within the jurisdiction of your municipality that are key or fundamental to a final investment decision?

Gordon MacDonald: A lot of those have been dealt with, certainly in the case of Goldboro LNG, on the land side they’ve purchased the property from the municipality within the industrial park, we’ve optioned land for the work camp and the construction support piece of the project. With Bear Head LNG Corporation, we’re working on a land option within the Goldboro industrial park where the pipeline will connect to the metering station for their project also. We continue to work with both developers trying to address what their needs are to move their projects forward.

Gastech News: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Gordon MacDonald: For us as a municipality as we work with developers, communication is absolutely critical, it should be early and often. We’ve seen it historically on other projects: if there’s poor communication and an information vacuum then that vacuum invariably will be filled with bad information and that really puts you behind the eight ball and it makes it very difficult to recover and build that community support.

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Gordon MacDonald, the Director of Economic Development at the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, attended the 2016 Canada LNG Conference & Exhibition in Vancouver. Find out more about next year’s event which will take place from 16-18 May 2017. The Canada LNG Conference & Exhibition is where the global LNG community meets to discuss and develop the future of Canada’s LNG industry.

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