Woodfibre LNG ‘floatel’ permit rejected by Squamish council

2 May 2024
Woodfibre LNG ‘floatel’ permit rejected by Squamish council


The District of Squamish council voted to reject a one-year temporary use permit (TUP) that would clear the way for Woodfibre LNG to use a renovated cruise ship to house over 600 workers in Howe Sound.

The motion to permit the so-called “floatel” failed by a 4-3 vote. Councillors who voted against the plan cited safety concerns, environmental and community impacts, as well as a lack of information from the company.

“I am very concerned about the amount of risk we are opening ourselves up to,” Coun. Lauren Greenlaw said.

“At the very least we need a deferral of the TUP to discuss outstanding issues — we need a bigger bond, hazard assessments. We need a waste management plan.”

The floating temporary accommodation has been proposed as part of the natural gas liquefaction and export terminal construction project that is already underway on the former site of the Woodfibre pulp mill.

When complete, the facility will produce 2.1 million tonnes of LNG per year for overseas markets, according to the company’s website.

Company disappointed

In a statement to CBC News, Woodfibre LNG president Christine Kennedy said she was disappointed with council’s decision.

“The district has asked repeatedly since 2019 — to the company and to regulators — that the Woodfibre LNG project workforce be housed outside Squamish, which is exactly what the floatel delivers,” Kennedy said.

“In a community that welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year, the rhetoric of some council members directed toward the skilled craft workers that will make up the project’s workforce seems out of place…. If these people visited as tourists, they would be welcomed.”

The Woodfibre facility has approvals from the B.C. and  federal governments, as well as the Squamish Nation.

More than 250 Squamish residents packed into a local gym Tuesday night with a single purpose: to decide whether Squamish council should allow a cruise ship to house workers for an LNG plant being built near the community. As CBC’s David Ball reports from the public hearing, the small community is divided over the entire LNG project.

Tracey Saxby, executive director of the advocacy group My Sea to Sky, was pleased with council’s decision.

“Last night was the first time that a government regulatory body actually listened to the community,” Saxby told CBC’s The Early Edition.

“The provincial and federal regulatory processes have failed us and it was left to local government to stand up and listen to the community. I’m really grateful for the local leadership that was shown.”

Project a ‘major challenge,’ says mayor

About 200 people attended a public meeting last week and hundreds more submitted comments online, with the majority voicing opposition to the floatel.

Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford proposed a motion to approve a one-year temporary use permit with the possibility of one three-year renewal, rather than an initial term of three years.

He said the floatel’s performance over the first year would provide clarity for the renewal discussion, but the motion was rejected.

In an email to CBC News, Hurford described the Woodfibre LNG project as a “major challenge” for the community.

“Our continued request has been for joint planning and we hope that everyone involved understands the importance of this request,” he said in the email.

“We hope anything that comes to us going forward has an increased level of co-operation and alignment so that we can understand the entirety of what’s proposed and that these issues can be considered in a more holistic approach.”

Source: cbc

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