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Letter: Attend Squamish public hearing and pose tough questions to Woodfibre LNG

'It is important to remember that the floatel is just one piece of the puzzle in a much larger project that involves the construction of a new fossil fuel facility in Squamish.'
The former Estonian cruise ferry MV Isabelle received finishing touches at Seaspan’s Vancouver Drydock in North Vancouver. It is eventuarlly due for deployment in Howe Sound as a “floatel” for workers building Woodfibre’s new LNG plant. |photo |Paul McGrath

I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the recent council meeting that discussed the developments on the Woodfibre LNG floatel. The concerns raised by our council members during the meeting underscore the critical importance of considering the broader implications of projects like this, especially in the context of our current climate emergency.

The decision to house workers on the floatel and impose access restrictions raises serious concerns about the well-being of both the workers and the community. It will create social tensions and exacerbate feelings of exclusion among the workers. Treating workers as if they are confined to a prison-like environment is unacceptable and disregards their rights and dignity.

The notion of approving a short-term permit with the possibility of renewal shifts the responsibility onto future governments and raises questions about accountability. Once a project of this magnitude begins, reversing its effects becomes increasingly challenging, if not impossible. We cannot afford to gamble with the future of our community.

The pending permits from Vancouver Coastal Health for food service, water, and sewage on the floatel also raise important health and safety considerations that must be addressed before we approve this proposal.

The long-term health impacts of having an LNG facility near residential areas, particularly on pregnant women, cannot be overlooked. It is essential to prioritize the health and safety of all individuals affected by this project.

It is important to remember that the floatel is just one piece of the puzzle in a much larger project that involves the construction of a new fossil fuel facility in Squamish. 

In an era where urgent action is needed to drastically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, investing in projects like Woodfibre LNG and supporting associated pipelines perpetuates harmful extraction methods and exacerbates the climate crisis. 

The proposed pipeline would not only contribute to increased fracking in communities in northern B.C., according to the Pembina Institute, but also pose significant risks to marine species in Howe Sound, the fragile ecosystem of the Estuary, and put thousands of Squamish residents at risk.

I appreciate the unanimous decision by Squamish council members to schedule a public hearing for this decision. It demonstrates a commitment to transparency and inclusivity in the decision-making process.

I encourage members of the community to attend the public hearing on April 23 and pose tough questions to Woodfibre LNG. It is crucial that we hold corporations accountable and demand transparency and accountability throughout the decision-making process. We must advocate for a future that prioritizes the health of our community over corporate profits.

Ankit Sharma


The Squamish Chief welcomes letters to the editor of up to 400 words. Letters should be exclusive to this publication and are meant to respond to a local story in The Squamish Chief or raise an issue happening in town. Please include your name, neighbourhood and daytime phone number. The deadline is 5 p.m. Monday to be considered for Thursday’s edition. Full names and neighbourhood will be published with the letter. The publisher reserves the right to refuse and edit letters for length and clarity or to address legal concerns. Email letters to: [email protected].

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