FortisBC says it will be able to continue to keep the winter chills away with the grand opening of a $200-million natural gas storage facility on Mt. Hayes, six kilometres northwest of Ladysmith.
More than 100 people gathered June 10 for the event, to celebrate a three-year long partnership between FortisBC employees, consultants, contractors and members of the local community, including the Stz’uminus First Nation, on whose traditional territory the facility was built.
“This project has had a major contribution and will have an ongoing contribution to the local economy,” said FortisBC president and CEO John Walker.
“Through the construction period over $70-million was injected into the local economy.”
The facility is the first of its kind on Vancouver Island and will provide much-needed capacity during the winter months when the load is high.
The gas will be transferred through a pipeline to the facility during the summer months to be compressed into liquid form and stored for future use.
The tank is approximately 60 metres in diameter and 50 metres high and can store up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas — which works out to roughly 15 per cent of the company’s annual requirements for residential and commercial customers on Vancouver Island.
“What it does is add security of supply and reliability for the Island. So if we were to have an outage on our pipeline, whether it’s down for maintenance or some other occurrence, we can use this facility to make sure that we’re able to continue to serve our customers,” said Cynthia Des Brisay, vice-president of energy supply and resource development.
During its construction, more than 120 people were employed by FortisBC, including 25 Stz’uminus First Nation members.
Now that it is complete, a team of 12 full-time employees will continue to operate the facility.
While the project may be complete there are still future opportunities for the local First Nations, said Chief John Elliot.
“Building a partnership with Fortis gave us an opportunity to employ members and, at the end, create a partnership where we may have an opportunity to be an investing partner within the project, which will create ongoing revenue for the nation for years to come,” he said.
“These are the kinds of partnerships we want.”