Credit: Business In Vancouver
The District of Chetwynd is hoping to reap tax benefits from a proposed $2.5 billion refinery that would make gasoline and methanol from natural gas.
The District of Chetwynd and the City of Dawson Creek have come to an agreement to move Chetwynd’s boundaries so that it would include Blue Fuel Energy’s proposed Sundance Fuels refinery and bring it into its municipal tax base.
The plant site is located between Chetwynd and Dawson Creek, and the mayors of both communities are showing strong support for the project, which would create 150 permanent jobs for the two communities. Chetwynd has been hard hit in recent years with met coal mine closures.
Under the proposal, Chetwynd would move its municipal boundaries to include the plant site, but would share tax revenue with Dawson Creek.
“Because its almost exactly in the middle of the geography between Chetwynd and Dawson Creek, there was an agreement between the municipalities that whatever the tax structure was put in place for the plant for the District of Chetwynd that that would be split 60-40 between the District of Chetwynd and the City of Dawson Creek,” Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead told Business in Vancouver.
The two communities are asking Blue Fuel Energy to support the boundary change.
“Blue Fuel Energy will be an excellent corporate citizen and this project will be a huge asset to Chetwynd and Dawson Creek,” Chetwynd Mayor Merlin Nichols said. “We welcome the opportunity to work together to facilitate sustainable development.”
Juergen Puetter, founder and outgoing CEO for Blue Fuel Energy, said he appreciates the support the project is getting from the two communities, but said he could not say whether the company would welcome the boundary change until he knows what the new tax rate would be.
“The actual rate and what it means for us, we haven’t sat down for that one yet,” Puetter said. “In principle, we’re happy to sit down with them. We much appreciate their support.”
The first phase of the project would be the Sundance Fuels refinery, which would use the abundant natural gas in the region to produce close to 1 billion litres of gasoline per year using a technology licensed from ExxonMobil. A second phase would be the construction of a methanol plant.