A plan to bring liquid natural gas (LNG) to five communities along the north shore of Lake Superior could see the energy source flowing by 2021.

A proposal from Northeast Midstream, a Toronto-based energy company, along with towns along the north shore, will see natural gas taken off the main TransCanada pipeline, and sent to a soon to be built LNG plant near Nipigon, Ontario.

"If all goes according to our schedule, and we receive approval in late 2017, for the LNG plant, we're likely looking like 2021, '22 to hopefully have LNG facilities in our communities," said Daryl Skworchinski, the chief adminstrative officer in Marathon, Ontario.

"It sets the stage for the municipalities to take the next step in business planning, and look at the residential development."

Skworchinski said the LNG would be trucked from the Nipigon-area plant to small distribution centres in Schreiber, Terrace Bay, Marathon, Manitouwadge and Wawa.

The municipalities would be responsible for creating the underground infrastructure needed to distribute the natural gas from a plant located in each community to homes and businesses.

"One of the reasons Marathon has certainly pursued it, and taken the lead on behalf of municipalities, is we see it as a real opportunity to tie into future mill development," he said.

Marathon Pulp Inc

The former Marathon Pulp Inc. site is now vacant. The Town of Marathon will assume the site by the end of 2017, and hopes to re-develop the land. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Skworchinski said Marathon is slated to assume ownership of the former Marathon Pulp Inc. site later this year, and the town wants to re-develop the land.

He said there is interest in the site, but being able to offer natural gas is just another selling point.

"For us to be sustainable into the future, we have to diversify the economy of Marathon, no question about it."