Woodfibre LNG is asking council to consider a four-year lease of Darrell Bay to transport personnel during the construction of the liquefied natural gas plant.
The area currently has an emergency ferryboat ramp operated by the Ministry of Transportation and two large, paved parking lots. WLNG is proposing the construction of a new secured boat dock beside the existing ramp.
“We don’t expect any real materials to move through here, just people,” said Woodfibre's vice-president of corporate affairs Byng Giraud. “There could be foodstuffs or small items that you could be carrying onto a boat, but no major items like steel or pipe.”
Giraud said Woodfibre LNG would be utilizing the parking area closest to the shore, leaving some parking for gondola overflow. Workers would be transported up to the site, likely from the south, before boarding vessels to travel across Howe Sound to the Woodfibre site.
The company is asking for an exclusive four-year lease that would begin in October 2018.
After the construction period is complete, Giraud said the company is open to working with the District to make sure they can “leave a benefit behind” including the possibility of repaving the parking lot, installing washrooms and creating a dock that would be suitable for non-motorized recreational use.
At the meeting on May 8, some councillors also urged staff to investigate the possibility of a much-needed boat launch ramp at the site.
"We should get an idea of what a ramp for a boat could cost down there. I think that's super important,” said Coun. Ted Prior.
While concerns were raised about the limited availability of parking for boat trailers, Mayor Patricia Heintzman said it was important to at least consider the boat ramp option. The possibility would need approval from the Ministry of Transportation.
Coun. Karen Elliott asked Giraud if the Woodfibre dock would be accessible to the public on the weekends during the four-year term. Giraud made it clear that the dock would remain closed until the construction of the LNG plant was completed.
“That dock, at that time during construction, is our dock,” said Giraud. “To open it up to the public would create some liability and risk issues for us.”
Giraud made it clear that access to the dock will be limited to staff and monitored by security.
“We want to be able to control for a safe environment,” he said.
Asked by a member of the public what would happen in the case of a protest on the site, Heintzman said that would be a matter for the police.
WLNG would need permission from the District councillors in order to lease the land. On Tuesday, councillors directed staff to continue working on a formal leasing agreement, which would include community feedback before a vote on endorsement.