Valleycliffe residents worried

MP Goldsmith-Jones hears concerns about proposed FortisBC compressor station

It was a chance to listen and be heard. 

About 45 people crammed into a Valleycliffe café Friday night for a community meeting about the Mount Mulligan FortisBC compressor station proposed for outside that neighbourhood.

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Newly elected member of Parliament Pam Goldsmith-Jones came by for about half an hour to hear what residents had to say about the proposed Valleycliffe station, which would help feed natural gas to the planned Howe Sound Woodfibre LNG export facility.

“This is the first community meeting we have had in Squamish – of course it is about a compressor station,” Goldsmith-Jones quipped, which brought laughter from the assembled crowd. “I am really just here to listen, and I consider this just the beginning.” 

Aside from a couple of Woodfibre LNG employees on hand, the majority in the room seemed opposed to not just the compressor station, but the entire liquefied natural gas export plant project. 

“If it comes down to stopping this thing from happening, I have no problem taking more aggressive action,” resident Rudy Vandermey told The Squamish Chief. 

“This is definitely something I don’t want in our neighbourhood or in our community, and I will do whatever it takes to stop it, short of actual violence.”

My Sea to Sky anti-LNG group co-founder and Valleycliffe resident Kati Palethorpe made a short presentation to the crowd regarding some concerns over the Mount Mulligan station. 

“Air quality will be degraded due to the compressor station being powered by three gas turbines, which will create air pollution and emissions of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, which is equivalent to adding actually over 6,000 cars idling their engines 24/7 here in Valleycliffe,” she said, adding noise pollution would be a problem as well.

A FortisBC fact sheet on the station states for most of the year, only one or two turbines would operate. The company predicts the three turbines would be used a maximum of two months of the year.

In terms of noise pollution, FortisBC documentation states that the noise level would be 29 decibels at the nearest residence, which is as loud as rustling leaves, according to hearing charts.

Palethorpe also said a reduction in property values, as well as a lack of a socio-economic impact study to assess the costs and benefits of the compressor station, were concerns. “Lastly, for me of utmost concern is the blatant conflict between how the whole process actually works. The fact that the minister that is mandated by the premier to develop natural gas exports in B.C. is the same minister responsible to sign off on the [Environmental Assessment Certificate].” 

The EA should protect the environment and protect human health, Palethorpe said. She called on Goldsmith-Jones to halt the granting of a federal environmental certificate.

Star Morris, a Squamish Climate Action Network member, spoke about the Mount Mulligan compressor station being near Squamish’s designated drinking water watershed. “All of our deepwater wells that provide a great source for groundwater, all the wells are there probably about 1.2 kilometres from where the proposed compressor station site is, and our back-up surface water intake is downhill and downstream from the compressor station,” Morris said.  

Goldsmith-Jones said she would take the concerns she heard back to Ottawa.

Valleycliffe resident Lisa Elbertsen moderated the evening and said she opposes the whole Woodfibre LNG project, not just the placement of the compressor station. 

“Right from the fracking to the pipeline to the LNG plant on Howe Sound. For me there are many different concerns surrounding all of that,” she said. “Who owns it, where it is coming from and does Squamish really benefit from it?” 

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