SLRD board unsatisfied with Woodfibre LNG's latest submission

Community and infrastructure draft turned down at latest meeting

Another government body has taken issue with Woodfibre LNG's draft plan outlining community and infrastructure implications for Squamish and the region.

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District board decided at its Aug. 28 meeting that the Community Services and Infrastructure Plan (CSIMP) draft provided by the proposed LNG proponent wasn't informative enough.

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It merely restates information and actions outlined in the original Environmental Assessment Application, which was submitted nearly five years ago, states an SRD staff report.

"They basically didn't do it. They basically re-filed the original document they had when they first applied for their EA certificate," SLRD board chair Tony Rainbow said after the meeting.

The staff report also states that the submitted draft "fails to include a plan to adaptively manage workforce housing and accommodation needs during the construction phase of the project."

When reached for comment about the outcome of the SLRD meeting, Woodfibre spokeswoman Rebecca Scott referred to her previous comments about the District of Squamish's similar decision from a Sept. 3 council meeting.

In an email, Scott said at that time, "Many sections of the Management Plans have been left deliberately open to better allow us to incorporate feedback from the District and community. It's important to note that the plans in their current form are a starting point for discussion and consultation, and far from a final product. We look forward to sitting down with District officials to go through them in detail."

Scott stated the CSIMP is a draft, and that specifics will be added once Woodfibre receives feedback.

"Woodfibre is actively looking into a wide variety of options for housing workers, with a primary goal of reducing impacts on the community," she said.

The SLRD staff document states, "Web pages and housing advisors do nothing to mitigate actual accommodation shortages or cost increases due to an influx of a significant number of out of region workers. Woodfibre publicly addressing its own risk management issues regarding workforce housing would go a long way to addressing the matters outlined in the environmental assessment process."

While the proposed LandSea workcamp, independent of Woodfibre, wants to house the project's potential employees, the SLRD board won't consider the workcamp until a social impact study is complete, Rainbow said after the Aug. 28 meeting.

"The ball is in their court right now to decide how they want to deal with it, what they want to do. It's not just the workcamp either. If and when that project goes ahead, there will be workers coming into this area, whether we have a workcamp or not," Rainbow said. "There will be an impact on rental accommodation in the district and in the region."

The CSIMP draft states the local hiring strategy will reduce in-migration to the area by first hiring in the District of Squamish and then Greater Vancouver, so "effects associated with local health and recreation services are not anticipated."

Of hiring local, Rainbow said, "There are not enough construction people in Squamish to cope with the kind of construction that has to be done over there.

"They need to give us an idea of how many people are coming, when they're coming, where they're coming from," he said. "Are they intending to house people in Vancouver or bus people from Vancouver? Are we anticipating increased car traffic as workers commute from the Lower Mainland up here? If so, where are they going to park their cars, how are they going to cross to the worksite?

"They're supposed to work in co-operation with the District and with the SLRD and so far — nothing," Rainbow said.

After the Aug. 28 meeting, the SLRD board requested the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) require meaningful consultation between Woodfibre, the District of Squamish and SLRD while developing the CSIMP. Now, the SLRD waits to hear back from the EAO about their message.

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