Squamish residents’ responses to a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Howe Sound highlight the uphill battle the project’s proponents face.
Late last month, the proponents of the Woodfibre LNG project unveiled their community consultation summary report outlining feedback from a series of meetings in February. Four-hundred and forty-nine people attended either the open houses, group sessions or emailed the company. A total of 142 comment submissions were received in the first round of consultation.
What topped the feedback was comments stating they didn’t want the LNG plant to be built at all. Out of the 142 submissions, 129 voiced their opposition to the project.
That message was followed closely by the 109 people who voiced concern over possible impacts the project may have on quality of life, including falling property values, a loss of views and pollution.
Ninety-eight commenters expressed the concern that the Woodfibre LNG project would negatively impact outdoor recreation and tourism in Squamish.
All of the comments were reviewed, the project’s vice-president Byng Giraud said. The idea is to encourage people with different perspectives to advise proponents on the project, he noted.
“We are hoping to improve the project and make changes and respond to concerns,” Giraud said.
It’s difficult to address all concerns, he noted. Some people opposed to the project are against the oil and gas sector in general. Either way, residents’ comments can help improve the finished product, Giraud said, noting the engineering team has been given additional time to incorporate residents’ recommendations.
Air quality was a big topic, Giraud said. Some residents also raised questions about noise, both above and below the water.
“We are taking that very seriously,” he said.
Giraud anticipates he’ll have draft plans to share with the community in June. At that point, the plant’s backers will gather further community input.
The Woodfibre LNG-led consultation is in addition to regulator-led public comment periods that are mandated as part of the federal-provincial environmental assessment. As yet, no such comment periods have yet been established.