For My Sea to Sky activist Eoin Finn, the fact federal environmental approval for the proposed Woodfibre LNG facility near Squamish came down the day after St. Patrick’s Day only added insult to him in light of his ancestry.
He has been at the forefront of opposition to the project.
“It’s no secret that I’m opposed to the development,” he told a like-minded audience at a meeting at the Brackendale Art Gallery on Friday night.
The approval though, he added, does not mean the liquefied natural gas plant will be a reality any time soon.
“There are yet a few hurdles to go before this can be anything real,” he told the crowd of well over 50 people. “My Sea to Sky doesn’t regard this as the end of the road.”
Opponents of the controversial project gathered at the gallery to galvanize the My Sea to Sky campaign and consider next steps.
As part of the evening, the group invited Bowen Island resident Bob Turner to present his 19-minute video, Howe Sound – Vancouver’s Wild Neighbour, which can be found on YouTube. He shot the video with his brother on a paddling expedition around Howe Sound. Along the way, they examine all the natural features and forms of life in the region, and how this might be threatened from re-industrialization, especially at a time when marine life has started returning to the waters.
“Howe Sound is just coming back to life,” he says in the video voiceover.
Another My Sea to Sky organizer Vanessa Senecal mentioned that the group is hosting a free public session on April 30 at the library that will look at direct action as a possible approach in the campaign to stop the LNG plant.
“We have had a lot of people say that’s something they’re willing to do,” she said. “We already have several people that have signed up for it.”
The workshop will examine not only methods but related issues such as legal questions, all with the aim of giving people the tools they need should My Sea to Sky choose to go this route.
Direct action is not a foregone conclusion though, as participants spent part of the evening brainstorming ideas on how best to show their opposition.
Early in the meeting, Finn discussed a few ideas, such as legal challenges using legislation that covers fisheries or the transportation of dangerous goods.
He also mentioned taking the fight to the political arena, such as through writing to newspapers or elected officials, or reminding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of a campaign promise stating that while governments grant permits, it is up to communities to grant permission for projects such as Woodfibre LNG.
“We clearly can’t do this without the support of the community,” he said.
The organizers gathered all the brainstorming ideas people had written down on sticky notes and arranged them into the themes as a way to set out priorities for action. Some of the these included finding positive alternatives to LNG, fundraising, trying to enlist celebrities, holding events, collaborating with like-minded organizations, public education, working on policy and targeting youth for the campaign.