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Letter: The Squamish floatel plan for Woodfibre LNG eases local housing pressures

'I’m writing to set the record straight following video comments made by a member of District of Squamish council that circulated recently on social media.'
The Woodfibre LNG floatel, when it was headed to North Vancouver in January. It later moved to Nanaimo harbour while Woodfibre LNG awaits the Temporary Use Permit approval from District of Squamish council. With approval, it will move to the site on Howe Sound, seven kilometres from downtown Squamish.

I’m writing to set the record straight following video comments made by a member of District of Squamish council that circulated recently on social media.

These comments falsely claimed that Woodfibre LNG had not adequately dealt with housing, and that construction workers were taking up housing in the community.

These statements are untrue and seem purposely misleading.

In 2019, Woodfibre LNG initiated extensive community consultations on how best to house the hundreds of workers that will be involved in the construction phase of the project, while also avoiding impacts on rental housing, traffic, pressures on community services and potential risks to women and girls in the community. After engagement with the District of Squamish Council and Squamish Nation, and thousands of comments from members of the public, the company made the decision to use a floatel, or a floating luxury accommodation on the water, which will be moored at the project site seven kilometres outside Squamish.

Woodfibre LNG heard the concerns of the community and Squamish Nation and invested $100 million to procure and refit the floatel in direct response – providing a community driven solution that would mitigate the potential impacts of a large construction workforce on rental housing in Squamish. The company has been equally responsive to other community concerns, including through our March 2023 announcement of our net zero roadmap for the facility and the introduction of extensive gender safety programming that fully adopts the industry-facing recommendations of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry. 

We are also pleased to have a construction phase capacity funding in place with the District, providing $1.3 million annually to support District staff costs related to project permitting, oversight and communications and to ensure that the Woodfibre LNG project does not impact the provision of District services for other residents or businesses. 

The floatel has been approved by Provincial, Squamish Nation and Federal regulators, and in 2023 Woodfibre LNG’s Environmental Assessment Certificate was amended to require that the non-local construction phase workforce are housed on the vessel once it is in place. The converted cruise ship will provide safe and comfortable living accommodations for 650 workers, and anyone not hired locally from Squamish or the Sea to Sky area will have no access to the community during their shift rotations. These arrangements are supported by a coalition of hereditary chiefs, and by the members of Woodfibre LNG’s Gender Safety Advisory Committee. 

District Council approval of a temporary use permit for the floatel is the last step in the regulatory process. We look forward to the District processing this approval quickly, putting their votes behind the community-driven solution to ensuring that the Woodfibre LNG project does not impact rental housing in Squamish.  

Major projects can bring major benefits, such as the company’s recent contribution of $900,000 to complete the Squamish Hospital Foundation’s fundraising for a CT Scanner. With effective and committed work, major projects do not need to have major impacts. 

Woodfibre LNG has done a great deal of work to respond to and clarify District questions about the floatel and we welcome any further discussion regarding the Temporary Use Permit that ensures this solution is in place in a timely manner.

This community-driven solution underlines the value of a true partnership and demonstrates how major projects with major benefits don’t need to have major impacts. 

Christine Kennedy, 

President, Woodfibre LNG


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