The Spin and the Spin Off

NateMAINBy Nate Dolha
Published: June 7, 2014

 

While folks continue to beat each other up over the proposed LNG facility for our community, I thought I would highlight some of the softer benefits that we could realize from the Woodfibre LNG development. We’ve heard the job numbers, speculated wildly on the municipal tax share, but haven’t dived below to look at what those numbers mean for Squamish.

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Let’s start with the jobs. For conversations sake, let’s assume the average salary is $75,000 for a LNG staffer. Not far-fetched, given the skilled nature of the work. If the estimate plays out, that’s 7.5 million dollars in new payroll added to the community every year. But where will the money go? Well, nearly half will be eaten up by income taxes levied by senior levels of government. The rest?

It’s safe to assume these people eat, so we would see more mouths in restaurants, pubs and grocers. The folks who come from elsewhere for a job will need a place to live. At that salary they could afford a home here, so some of that new money will find it’s way into the hands of trades, real estate and mortgage brokerages, and a litany of other home services. Many will drive as well, and so on. If our local marketplace is up to the task, they will likely absorb much of the new money provided by these new jobs.

There are also businesses that could see a benefit from a new facility here. The obvious sector would be marine services; tugs, water taxi, waterborne delivery, and chandlery. Beyond the obvious, there will be additional work from the increased environmental monitoring around the plant through the commissioning and operating phases. Maintenance cycles will require engineers, millwrights, welders, pipefitters and other skilled trades.

This is all high value work, and all work that can be accomplished with the current talent pool. And most importantly, this is all new work in our community.

There is also a potential benefit to the increased marine traffic here. If we continue to be a safe port of call for shipping, Squamish Terminals, our only major employer here (not counting the District itself), will be provided an opportunity to increase its exposure to the shipping world. In a business where reputation matters, this facility will only mean good things for other commodities that are sent to the wider world from our little piece of paradise.

Getting behind this opportunity provides us with increased economic diversity, more high paying jobs, more people who can call Squamish home  and make a living here.

This needs to be the goal, because we should be more than just a playground.

 

Sound off on Twitter: @natedolha

 

Comments

  1. Patricia Marini says:

    First real incite I have seen to this event–good points.Thank you!

  2. TJay says:

    Nate, you make much too much sense, so being Squamish it will never fly……….if the enviro religion had it’s way…

  3. Wolfgang W says:

    Nothing wrong with talking about the ‘sizzle’, Nat, but “Where’s the Beef?” as the old lady used to bellow in that commercial of long ago…

  4. Geri Avis says:

    It takes a lot of supplies to maintain an industrial plant 24/7. Not only will they be purchasing services from the marine-based uppliers, they will also need to purchase a myriad of goods from companies such as Triton Steel, Lordco, Rona, Home Hardware, Save-on Foods and more. The spin-offs are significant.

    • Wolfgang W says:

      No denying that spin-offs (he ‘sizzle’) could be significant and therefore an important aspect of the project, but nonetheless, they should not be elevated to become the main focus. Remember the Fast-Ferries? After the debacle, a cabinet minister tried to justify the gaping hole punched into provincial finances with the jobs created and spin-offs enjoyed while the project was humming along. Nobody then bought into his argument either.

      LNG Woodfibre has to make economic sense for Squamish and the Province of BC not just on the basis of ancillary considerations, put foremost on primary ones. On those the jury is still debating.

  5. Adam says:

    Nate. This article reads like LNG is the only investment in our community that offers the opportunity for spin off business. Any business that calls Squamish home will feed dollars into our local economy. Yes, LNG will feed some companies more than others just as an alternative might feed another type of business.

    This is hardly a reason to overlook the shaky financial modeling, lack of clarity around tax rates, subsidies and the safety and environmental risks posed by this project. It also assumes we believe the proponent when they advocate for this and that. Given their abhorrent track record on the environment and overall lack of good corporate citizenry (convicted of tax fraud to the tune of $260 Million), forgive me for having my doubts about their honesty and interest in doing anything other than maximizing profits at the expense of our health and our home.