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FortisBC construction yard proposed behind Valleycliffe

A Squamish resident hopes to raise awareness about the yard, which will support the Eagle Mountain pipeline to Woodfibre project.

A Valleycliffe resident is seeking to raise awareness about a proposed construction yard that may be set up right by her neighbourhood.

The yard would support construction of the Eagle Mountain - Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project, which will be supplying Woodfibre LNG with natural gas.

Philippa Clark said it seems as if not many people have been informed about the potential FortisBC construction yard behind Valleycliffe, right by the Mamquam River Forest Service Road.

When speaking to The Squamish Chief, Clark emphasized that FortisBC has been very receptive to concerns that she has voiced out, and has been collaborative.

She said the utility has responded well to her feedback.

However, Clark said she wants to raise more awareness about the matter, since many people in Valleycliffe — her neighbourhood — don't appear to know about the proposal.

If the proposal goes through, FortisBC will build a temporary site office and laydown yard along the Mamquam River Forest Service Road, just northeast of Valleycliffe.

This would support pipeline work by providing a central location to place portable offices and to securely store construction equipment.

Clark said she had concerns that fall under two categories.

"One is the use of the FSR [forest service road]  that runs behind Valleycliffe and Raven's Plateau," said Clark. "We already have a big issue with dust noise, traffic safety and any additional use, especially with heavy goods and vehicles on this road, will really exacerbate the issue, especially in the summer months. This is also compounded by the proposal for the Squamish Canyon project to use the FSR as access."

There are often many vehicles parked along the FSR, and it can become a safety issue, she continued.

"If you had the larger vehicles coming down the road, if you needed emergency vehicle access…it's going to become a real big challenge for the residents," added Clark. "The road runs directly behind residents' houses, especially up in Raven's Plateau along Balsam Way and that part of the area."

The dust is also practically unmanageable, she said. Some residents have taken to putting out their garden hoses in an attempt to stifle the clouds of dirt coming from the area.

This will only get worse with construction crews moving in and out of the area, she said.

Clark said her second main concern surrounded the proposed construction hub, which looks to be behind Cherry Drive.

"There's going to be noise pollution, dust pollution, light pollution, all the impacts to the environment that will bring. It's going to have access issues, waste issues," she said.

Clark said she was concerned about the safety of children playing in an area with heavy machinery operating nearby, as the proposed site would be close to a number of Valleycliffe residences.

She said she was also concerned that the company may be clearing a significant part of the land, which is currently covered in trees.

Clark also said there might be expensive equipment kept on the site, which could attract theft.

Finally, Clark also had concerns about what would happen once construction was finished and the project is done.

She said once FortisBC's operations in the area are done, it may leave a clearing of flat land that will attract illegal campers, which she said have already been an issue.

"We currently have a human excrement problem along the river here," said Clark. "And if you have…campers at volume, it's only going to get worse."

The land where the proposed construction may be set up is Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) territory.

The Nation's communications manager, Marc Riddell, told The Squamish Chief that its members are reviewing the proposal but have nothing further to add at the moment.

FortisBC, however, did have some things to say about its proposal.

In an email to The Squamish Chief, the organization said that it is proposing this location "largely due to its proximity to project construction sites, which would allow us to mitigate traffic impacts within the community."

"The site is big enough to allow us to leave a large number of trees along the southern and eastern boundaries as a visual barrier and to help mitigate noise, and its location near the proposed workforce lodge will further mitigate traffic impacts to the community," reads a statement from Alex Munro, a communications advisor with FortisBC.

"It is important to note that the proposed site is located on privately owned land, and we are still in early discussions with the landowner."

Fortis will be holding a community meeting on this matter on June 6, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Stawamus Elementary gym.

"We encourage residents to join us at a Valleycliffe community meeting on June 6 to learn more about the project and provide their feedback," said Munro. "The input we receive will help guide our decisions and planning for the site office and laydown yard, including identifying areas of concern and mitigating impacts."


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