Savings of almost $300 million by the Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) administration have been reinvested into realising a number of transformational projects across the Region, to the benefit of residents.According to Regional Executive Officer (REO) Rupert Hopkinson, the savings were made possible through prudent resource management and vigilance by the Regional Administration in 2017.Works continue on the Anna Regina Health CentreThe projects realised from the ground-breaking achievement are a new boat landing for students and teachers at the Liberty Nursery and Primary School, a bus shed at Dartmouth, a fence at Unity Park, a seating area at Cotton Field and renovation and extension of the Anna Regina Health Centre.Currently, there are 46 pupils attending the Liberty Primary School, some 18 miles down the Pomeroon River. Headteacher Pansy Garraway-Allen said the new school’s landing was extremely necessary.“Previously, the situation was very bad. It was almost a threat to any person who would have used the landing. The lower part of the stelling, some parts were rotted, a few threaders from the step were missing because the foundation was no more. … At times we had to choose spots to step on to avoid going underground in any serious state. It was also not good enough for the students. Many times, we had to tutor the children, guiding them where to walk and avoid any sort of running on it,” Garraway-Allen explained.The newly-extended landing is a boon for the female staff, the Headteacher continued, since “before during the spring tide in the mornings, the tide would be rather low causing some trouble to us. The flats were very far out and the boats in which we travel to school are large and when we get to school, we would normally have to stick our skirts in the tights and pull boat ropes to get up to the stelling which was very strenuous to us as females.” According to Garraway-Allen, the students were also forced to step from one boat to another to reach the landing.The REO said the decision to do the work was influenced mainly by the pleas of the Headteacher and the threat the dilapidated facility posed to students and teachers alike.“Because of the danger and imminent threat to life and limb, we decided that we must have this thing done. The beautiful thing is that we had savings.I am elated to know that we were able to rescue the situation at Liberty. It is a good job done not only for Liberty but for the Region as well,” Hopkinson explained.
The first question went to the potential negatives associated with the drop in crude oil prices.Mr. Keane does not see that as having a long-term derailing impact on the development of the industry in this province.“These very large companies are not going to make long-term economic decisions based the spot prices of crude oil,” says Keane. “Whether it’s $57.00 or $120.00, they’re going to be making their long-term economic forecasts or investments based on what they see as the real price of crude oil 20 or 30 years from now.”- Advertisement -We also raised the recent report by Moody’s Investors Service suggesting the B.C. government has an overly optimistic goal of having three west-coast LNG plants operational by 2020, and the counter argument of the CEO of the Pacific Northwest LNG consortium.Not surprisingly Mr. Keane agrees with Michael Culbert that lower oil and gas prices have actually improved the economics for project development, and he touched on what he sees as the price drop’s silver lining.“I think the big contractors are looking for ways that they can sustain work, so they’re getting more competitive in terms of their bid. Price of steel I think is coming down so that’s good for pipeline construction; it’s good for the facilities itself,” Keane goes on to explain. “And of course one of the big concerns that we had as an industry was to labour, and I think the low oil prices is brining up some of the workers that would normally go from British Columbia to the oil sands.”Advertisement “Having said that, we do recognize that individual greenhouse gas emissions from the facilities are going to increase the overall greenhouse gas production.”Keane says as an industry alliance, the plan to address this concern is buy purchasing carbon offsets.“We’ll be not only paying our carbon tax of $30.00 per tonne, but we will also be purchasing carbon offsets.”Finally, we asked Keane if the industry has been having conversations with the province in regard to the impact this type of development will have on local infrastructure.“I think that’s a very good question – it’s one that we are looking at,” Keane concludes. “The issue around infrastructure and how it gets developed…is something that we are looking at, and we recognize the pressures that are going to be placed on the northeast.”Advertisement “So they will be available to help build this industry once we get to a final investment decision.”Some people have also raised concern that an LNG industry would prevent the province from attaining its 2020 goal of a 33 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.Keane disagrees, and while he expressed confidence the goal will be met, he also took time to expand upon the Premier’s initiative encouraging critics to think globally.“If we can supply British Columbia natural gas to China and replace coal fire generation with natural gas fire generation, we can reduce CO2 emissions by up to about 45 to 50 per cent – so there’s a huge benefit in terms of reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions” says Keane. “We have to remember, we all breathe the same air; we live in a closed-loop system.”Advertisement “It’s something that is on our list of things to focus on and get done.”