MODG, partners discuss preparations for Goldboro LNG

By Helen Murphy    

GUYSBOROUGH – “I think we’re well ahead of the ball when it comes to planning.” That's how Warden Vernon Pitts of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough describes the municipality's preparations for industrial development in our area -- in particular the planned Goldboro LNG project.

While there are still unknowns in terms of the mega-project's impacts locally, Pitts notes that MODG has a population of about 4500, meaning at the peak of construction that number would almost double.

"So there will be an increase in services to some degree," he told The Journal during an interview Monday.

Two years ago MODG was in discussions with federal and provincial government partners about the potential impact of the planned Goldboro LNG project on the municipality. As part of this effort, consultants were hired to provide guidance on matters including emergency measures, health care, accommodations and training.

As Pieridae Energy now inches closer to its final investment decision for Goldboro LNG, these partners will reconnect later this month to continue that work.

Among the various industrial projects proposed for MODG, it is understood that the $10 billion Goldboro LNG project would have the biggest impact on the municipality, CAO Barry Carroll told The Journal during an interview Monday.

“We've had to think about all factors,” he said. “When we start taking action on items that are pertinent depends on when the project gets started in earnest from a construction perspective.”

With an eventual workforce of 3500 during construction, it is expected that 2500 would be housed in a work camp adjacent to the project site. The remaining 1000 are expected to find accommodation in communities within driving distance.

“It’s a four-year construction time frame,” said Carroll. “You're not going to have 3500 people in there in week one. The workforce will build slowly.”

In terms of training needed for emergency response teams nearby, Carroll noted that MODG has been doing training related to the gas industry for the past 20 years, because of the Sable Offshore Energy Project at Goldboro.

“This will not be much different,” he said, noting that training will be focused on local EMO teams acting in a support capacity, as Goldboro LNG’s own emergency response personnel would take the lead in any emergency at the site.

With respect to policing, Carroll said MODG has been in discussions with the RCMP. “If (coverage) needs to be ramped up at some point in time, we'll look at that with the RCMP.”

There are also unknowns about how the eventual commercial taxation of the project will be structured, but Warden Pitts said he expects it to be a similar process as took place with Sable Offshore Energy. What exactly is taxable is determined by the province. Pitts noted that the increase in tax revenue will help with the current "financial crunch" MODG is experiencing with the loss of Sable Project commercial tax.

"When (Goldboro LNG) gets off the ground, that's going to address that. But it's a number of years down the road."