UPDATED: SLRD puts Britannia work camp decision on hold

Regional district will not entertain work camp unless it carves out agreements with Woodfibre LNG or FortisBC

The SLRD appears to be deferring any further decisions regarding a proposed temporary work camp in Britannia Beach that stirred up contentious debate among locals.

This development arises after the province's Environmental Assessment Office responded to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's request for an opinion on the matter.

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At the latest regional district meeting on June 26, it was decided that until LandSea secures agreements with either Woodfibre LNG, FortisBC, or both, the regional district board won't be considering the company's application, according to acting SLRD chief administrative officer Kristen Clark.

"The June board resolution pointed out that a user agreement between LandSea and Woodfibre and/or FortisBC was a requirement of the resolutions passed at the April Board meeting," wrote Clark in an email to The Chief.

"Until the SLRD is advised that the user agreement is forthcoming, the application will not be brought back to the board for further consideration."

LandSea Camp Services has applied to obtain a temporary use permit that would allow it to create a 500-person camp in the Tigerbay — formerly known as the Taicheng or Makin — lands for three years.

After that term, the SLRD may opt to renew the permit for another three years.

"We'll just have to wait and see what LandSea decides to come back with," said Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott, who also sits on the SLRD board.

"That was one of the reasons their motion failed under the previous board — was that it wasn't connected to a specific project. So they've known from the beginning that that was a requirement of the [temporary use permit]."

LandSea had previously put in an application for a similar project in 2017.

SLRD chair Tony Rainbow did not respond to requests for comment by press deadline.

Prior to its latest decision, the SLRD asked the Environmental Assessment Office for an opinion on the project.

This request came after activist group My Sea to Sky said creating a work camp in relation to Woodfibre LNG and its associated FortisBC undertaking would require amendments to those projects' environmental certificates.

LandSea is not affiliated with either company, but is hoping to attract their business.

During the regional district's meeting, the response of the EAO was taken into consideration.

"Woodfibre and FortisBC are responsible to ensure activities fully meet requirements of their EA Certificates," reads a letter from Nathan Braun, the EAO's executive project director, to the SLRD.

"If the projects determine that use of the work camp is in a manner inconsistent with a certificate condition or the certified project description, they are welcome to apply for amendments to their EA Certificates, which would be reviewed and considered by the EAO."

Also attached in the EAO's reply were statements from both Woodfibre LNG and FortisBC.

In those statements, both companies said they do not have any contractual agreements with LandSea.

Brayden Harrington of LandSea said the company is still reviewing the situation and will be sending a letter to the SLRD in the near future.

On July 10, he sent The Chief a company statement on the matter.

“It has always been our intention and we are happy to comply with all of the conditions of the [temporary-use permit],” reads the company statement.

“However, our understanding from the April 26 board meeting resolutions is that finalized user agreements are a condition of the issuance of a TUP, not a prerequisite to the TUP application being processed. In competitive business it is extremely challenging to be rewarded with a contract without having at least a base-level land use permit in place.”

While the answers attached to the EAO's letter appear to have put temporary brakes on the work camp, Tracey Saxby of My Sea to Sky, said there were issues with the EAO's response.

"I was actually very concerned about the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office's response to the LandSea work camp, because the way they framed the response, they checked in with Woodfibre LNG and Fortis to see if they thought that they needed an amendment — that's not their role," said Saxby.

"The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office is allowing Woodfibre LNG and Fortis to dictate whether or not they need an amendment, so they're not doing their job of regulating these projects and letting the proponents have way too much control over the process. So the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office is failing in their duty as a regulator."

She also said that the office is not taking into account the full impact of the Woodfibre LNG and FortisBC projects, because all the activities associated with them are being considered in isolation.

 

***Please note this story was updated on 11:05 a.m. PT, July 10, to include an official statement from LandSea Camp Services.

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