Though they oppose the Woodfibre LNG facility and its associated FortisBC pipeline, acts of violence are not what they are about, says My Sea to Sky co-founder Tracey Saxby.
Members of the group were as horrified as most in Squamish by the arson at the
Woodfibre LNG and FortisBC Community Office on Thursday, she said.
“My Sea to Sky encourages peaceful expression and respectful dialogue in opposition to the Woodfibre LNG and FortisBC projects,” said Saxby in an email to The Squamish Chief.
“My Sea to Sky does not condone this kind of destructive behaviour, which… puts people’s lives at risk and is counter-productive to our goals.”
Saxby also said she was grateful the fire didn’t spread or cause injury.
Staff Sgt. Jolaine Percival of the Squamish RCMP confirmed the early morning fire as arson on Thursday afternoon.
Percival couldn't comment on if there were suspects, she said.
“It is very concerning to hear that this may be arson,” said Mayor Patricia Heintzman.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable to put peoples’ lives and livelihoods at risk, and it is my sincere hope that this was not politically motivated. Under no circumstances is it an acceptable form of civil society to express disagreement through such violence. I know that we are collectively better than this in Squamish, and that this individual act does not represent our community as a whole.”
The damage is mainly to the outside of the office, according to Squamish RCMP.
Squamish Fire Rescue was called to the fire at the 38143 Cleveland Ave. office at around 4 a.m., Thursday morning, according to Fire Chief Bill Stoner.
Light smoke and fire were present when the crew arrived, Stoner said.
"An efficient response by Squamish fire allowed for quick extinguishment and confined the fire to the compartment of origin," he said in an emailed statement to The Chief.
Woodfibre LNG spokesperson Jennifer Siddon said the company was holding off on making an official comment while the RCMP investigation was taking place, but thanked the authorities for their efforts.
“Woodfibre LNG would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Squamish Fire Rescue and Squamish RCMP for their quick response to the incident,” she said in an email to The Squamish Chief.
Two RCMP officers were stationed out front of the office Thursday morning and tape is set up around the perimeter of the entrance to the office.
The Community Office will reopen after repairs are made, Siddon said.
A representative for FortisBC said Thursday afternoon it was fortunate no one was injured as a result of the “small fire.”
“The safety of our employees and the public, and the security of our assets is FortisBC’s number one priority,” read a statement from the natural gas company.
“Our Community Office has been a place of peaceful and constructive dialogue for more than two years. We know that this incident is not representative of the community of Squamish.”
The Squamish Chief will provide more information as it becomes available.
Video of scene Thursday morning by Micheala Garstin/The Squamish Chief