Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, stood in the legislature March 25 and proclaimed his support for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant on Howe Sound.
Sturdy delivered a Private Members' Statement in Victoria, and in it he made it clear that he feels the region and the province will benefit from the construction of an export plant on Howe Sound at Woodfibre.
"The development of LNG will, and already is, creating jobs in this province and it could create more — tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars of new economic activity," he said in the Legislative Assembly. "This is not just something we're speculating about, this is something that's actually happening right now."
Sturdy went on to say that an energy-thirsty Asia is driving the demand for LNG from B.C.
"We're supporting this tremendous opportunity for growth with actions, which ensure British Columbians are equipped with the skills necessary to secure new jobs," Sturdy said in his statement.
Meanwhile, one Squamish teacher is looking ahead at the employment potential an export facility will bring.
When Vicki Schenk learned the provincial government was inviting students from across B.C. to attend the second annual LNG in B.C. Conference in Vancouver, she applied to get as many of her students to the event as possible. Schenk is a tech education teacher at Howe Sound Secondary School. The application Schenk submitted was to get as many as 120 students in Grades 10 to 12 to one of the half-day sessions for students at the convention set for May 21 to 23.
Schenk described it as a good opportunity for her students because they don't know much about the LNG industry.
According to a news release announcing the opportunity, students will learn about the jobs in the industry, while getting hands-on experience using heavy equipment and welding simulators.
"I'm trying to get most of our shop kids, and anybody else who wants to attend, to go just because I think it's important for them to educate themselves given that this might be in their backyard," said Schenk.
She also applied for funding to cover the transportation costs, as the provincial government has made up to $300,000 available to help offset transportation costs.
In addition to applying to get students to the convention, Schenk said she reached out to Woodfibre LNG, the company looking to export LNG from the Woodfibre site, to explore placing Howe Sound Secondary work experience students at the plant if it is built.
"They were very interested and were hoping we could have work-experience opportunities, so that some kids could actually go and try it out," said Schenk.
The provincial government predicts that over the next decade there will be more than a million job openings in B.C. — 43 per cent of those are expected to be for people with trades or technical expertise.
If five LNG facilities are constructed in B.C. the province claims as much as $1 trillion will be generated for the province over 30 years and generate tens of thousands of stable jobs for British Columbians.