As provincial officials welcomed the Sea to Sky Gondola into B.C.’s economy, more than 100 people made it known that the proposed Woodfibre liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant won’t enjoy the same reception.
On Friday (May 16), residents from Vancouver to Squamish held anti-LNG signs along Highway 99 in an effort to get politicians’ attention. B.C. Premier Christy Clark was originally scheduled to attend the gondola’s opening celebrations. The night before the event, it was announced she would be replaced by Minister of State for Tourism Naomi Yamamoto.
Opposition to the proposed LNG export plant is snowballing, said Kati Palethorpe of the group My Sea to Sky, which organized the rally. She fully supports the Sea to Sky Gondola, but said its opening was the perfect place to get the message out that many Squamish residents don’t want an LNG plant along Howe Sound.
“We need to speak up. We need to make our voices heard,” Palethorpe said.
Laura Yates drove up from Vancouver to participate in the rally. The public needs to learn more about the environmental harm of fracking — the process by which natural gas is extracted from the ground. Until the industry finds a less intrusive mining technique, people need to say “no” to LNG, Yates said.
As the Woodfibre project rolls forward, Squamish will become a hot spot for British Columbians wanting to stand up against the oil and gas industry, she noted.
“I think this, the Kinder Morgan pipeline and Enbridge are projects people are going to be putting their bodies on the line for,” Yates said.
Squamish resident Cindy Brule attended the rally with Howe Sound’s habitat in mind. Last year marked the first time in half a century that commercial salmon fishing was allowed in Squamish’s waters, she noted. The LNG plant would threaten the rehabilitation of the sound’s ecosystem, including the Pacific white-sided dolphins that visit the area, Brule said.
“To put industry in there is going to destroy what has come back,” he said.