Group protests ‘propaganda’ to students

Squamish LNG site will be safest in B.C., Woodfibre vice-president says

They didn’t expect to change the minds of the government or Woodfibre LNG officials regarding the proposed liquefied natural gas plant, but they certainly caught their attention.
A dozen demonstrators outside the Science World “Clean LNG” displays at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park marched and held up anti-fracking signs as a light rain fell Tuesday. One wore a fish costume, another sported a white lab coat and others held up protest signs to passing school buses headed to the displays. Yellow-clad security guards watched the demonstrators’ movements, and police stopped by to ask questions as well.
“You don’t have LNG unless you have a fracking industry,” said Melyssa Hudson, one of the protest organizers, who said fracking is “a huge threat to our freshwater resources” and releases “enormous amounts of methane.”
“There are a lot of serious concerns on fracking,” said Hudson, of the group My Sea to Sky. “For the province to be promoting this to youth is beyond acceptable.”
Hudson called the Clean LNG event “greenwashing of our youth” and said it’s propaganda that is “despicable.”
She said while the demonstrators did not expect their protest to stop the Squamish Woodfibre LNG plant from being built, the idea was to show the community “we are thinking about the future.”
“We want jobs in Squamish like anybody else... but the Woodfibre project is not good jobs.”
Inside the centre, teenagers perused the displays about jobs in the sector and listened in on a seminar.
“It looks like a positive event,” commented Woodfibre LNG corporate affairs vice-president Byng Giraud after arriving on Wednesday morning. “I am hoping people take advantage of this educational opportunity.”
He was not concerned about the protest. “That is part of our society. If you are from British Columbia and born and raised here... there is always going to be a group of people with a different opinion, and that’s B.C.”
But Les McDonald, one of the demonstration organizers, was upset about the provincial government’s Science World LNG event.
“What it boils down to is that Woodfibre LNG is trying to partner itself with a legitimate science organization, Science World, to paint a prettier picture,” he said. “Many of us do not want Woodfibre LNG in Squamish. They’re basically selling it like Kool-said to the kids.”
He was pleased when about 20 of the teenage students walked over to the protest to talk about LNG and fracking.
McDonald said one of his concerns is “turning Howe Sound into a shipping channel for LNG tankers” and that the facility would be too close to Squamish.
But Giraud said the local facility will be built seven kilometres away, making it one of the plants “the furthest away from human habitation” and much more remote than LNG plants in Boston, Tokyo or other parts of B.C.
“If proximity is your issue, it is one of the safest in British Columbia,” he told The Squamish Chief.
“I am not sure why adding three or four ships a month will make it an LNG shipping channel,” he said. “It is all perspective.... and a gross exaggeration.”
He said Woodfibre is not providing money to Science World, but did promote the event by sending mailout cards, calling people in its database and through automated calls as well.
“We did a voicemail dump. We hired a company that followed CRTC regulations,” said Giraud.
He hoped many people would attend the two-day event in Squamish. “People can learn a little about the project, a little about science.”

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