The Squamish Chamber of Commerce released a letter acknowledging the potential economic growth of the Eagle Mountain - Woodfibre Gas Pipeline Project but also calling for “corporate responsibility” from FortisBC to address the risks.
Christopher Fehr, the executive director of the chamber, penned a letter outlining some of the positives and challenges associated with the project.
Among the positives included employment opportunities as well as “stimulating local businesses and contributing to regional energy security.”
However, Fehr also wrote there were risks of putting pressure on the housing supply, local workforce and municipal infrastructure.
“The increased workforce and potential influx of residents during the construction and operation phases of the project may put pressure on the local housing market, potentially leading to increased housing costs and limited affordable housing availability. This issue needs to be proactively addressed to ensure housing stability and affordability for the community,” he wrote.
A potential solution, he said, was for FortisBC to consider long-term funding to the recently formed Squamish housing authority, the Squamish Community Housing Society.
“In addition, increased municipal expenses can be a potential challenge for the Squamish municipality. The project may place additional demands on municipal services, such as infrastructure upgrades, public transportation, health care and emergency services. These expenses can strain the municipality's budget and require careful planning and resource allocation to manage the increased demand effectively,” he said.
In short, Fehr said it is important to address and mitigate these associated risks with the project.
“By carefully considering these factors, engaging in dialogue, and implementing appropriate
measures, it is possible to find a balance that maximizes the benefits while minimizing the potential negative impacts of the project.”
“This is an opportunity for FortisBC to set an example of what corporate social responsibility is. While the project timeline is five years, the positive impacts to the community can last a lifetime.”