John Alan Jack, our newest board member, is an elected councillor of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations on Vancouver Island and chair of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District
On the board, he succeeds Robert J. Dennis Sr., the elected chief councillor for Huu-ay-aht First Nations.
Jack leads planning for the Huu-ay-aht on the Kwispaa LNG project with Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG. The project proposes an LNG processing and export terminal at Nuumaqimyiis Bay (also known as Sarita Bay), on Huu-ay-aht territory in the Bamfield region.[With a final investment decision (FID) anticipated in 2020, the first phase of the project is expected to be operational by the end of 2024 and will provide capacity of approximately 12 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), with the ability to expand to 24 mtpa. It will be fed with natural gas via a proposed1,000-km pipeline from northeastern BC.]
Says Jack: “LNG was an opportunity that was brought to us by Steelhead LNG. We hadn’t really thought of it directly ourselves. It was an idea that came to us, as an idea, and we really appreciated that. It took us quite a while to interact with Steelhead, and we did interact often, from the very beginning. But it took us years to really have a conversation with our community, with our hereditary and elected leaders, across two terms of office. We really did it right.”
The Huu-ay-aht community voted 70% in favour of the project in March 2017. And in October this year Steelhead LNG filed its formal Project Description with the BC Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
John Jack: “Because of the processes that we went through, and because of the nature of LNG in BC, we found it was a good fit for our nation, which is a self-governing treaty nation. LNG was an opportunity that came to us. And because of the working relationship (with Steelhead) that we were able to create, and because of the necessity of LNG in Canada and in BC, I think what we’ll find is that this is a project that works really well.”
The Huu-ay-aht developed a unique “co-management relationship” with Steelhead: An oversight board of three Huu-ay-aht representatives and three from Steelhead oversees the over-all project. And Chief Councillor Dennis sits on Steelhead’s corporate board.
Jack continues: “It’s not a capital-P equity partnership. Personally, I call it a lower-case-p partnership. We do act in concert in many ways. And we do try to look at all of the practices at all of the stages of the process, together. So for all intents and purposes we do act together in a lot of ways, but we’re not equity owners. We’re definitely small-p partners.
“It’s an effective way of protecting our interests, as well as helping to create value in British Columbia, in Canada, and the world economy.”
The Huu-ay-aht nation has about 700 members, with about 150 living on reserve.
(Posted here 06 December 2018)