I am writing today regarding an article which appeared online Jan. 24, “District of Squamish council critical of Fortis-to-Woodfibre LNG pipeline timing,” in The Squamish Chief outlining concerns of local council members about the Woodfibre LNG project.
However, what it does not highlight is the significant level of information we have provided and continue to provide to council and staff about the many efforts taking place to address or mitigate potential issues.
We believe that discussion about a project such as this should start from a basis of fact and that our collective focus should be on information sharing and problem-solving. The community deserves nothing less.
So, let’s start by acknowledging that any development is going to have some level of impact on a community in which it is based and determine how we work together to address outstanding concerns.
Case in point is the issue of accommodation for the construction workforce.
Woodfibre LNG has listened to the community and responded through plans for a floating workforce accommodation vessel located at the project site.
The floatel will house the vast majority of our non-local workforce — and will include amenities, medical services, mental health services, food and beverage and recreational services to support safe, gender-inclusive and comfortable accommodation. Floatel-based workers will be working long hours, on shift rotations of 14 days, and will not pass through Squamish on their way to and from their shift rotations.
On the topic of housing, Woodfibre LNG recognizes concerns about the local rental market in Squamish, and has taken steps to ensure that our impacts on the rental market will be minimal. Our Community Services and Infrastructure Management plan, which will be finalized this spring, will address housing strategy, workforce strategy, and worker code of conduct to further clarify how community concerns will be mitigated.
These and other areas of questions or potential concern will also be the focus of discussion at community roundtables occurring throughout spring 2023.
At the same time, we will continue to work closely with the Squamish Nation and collaborate with the local, provincial, and federal governments to ensure the project is a positive contributor to the local economy and community.
From an environmental perspective, Woodfibre is regulated by three levels of government (federal, provincial and the Squamish Nation), which means socio-economic impacts are required to be mitigated and will be detailed in a series of management plans that will be consulted on and completed prior to construction starting.
The Squamish Nation Environmental Assessment Agreement, the Oil and Gas Commission, and the BC Environmental Assessment Process have established rules and regulations that dictate when construction may begin, and that outline the conditions we must adhere to during construction.
Woodfibre LNG will be an anchor company in Squamish for at least the next 45 years.
We are sincere about hiring and purchasing locally wherever practical to maximize the project’s benefits for the community, and we will continue to take steps to minimize the impacts and inconveniences of construction for Squamish residents.
We look forward to continuing to engage with the community as we advance toward construction this fall.
President, Woodfibre LNG