Woodfibre LNG has confirmed to The Chief that the company has secured housing for its workers in one of the three Sirocco buildings currently under construction.
“Woodfibre LNG recently became aware of an opportunity to lease one of the buildings in the Sirocco development that was nearing completion and therefore would be available for site staff and their families," said Rebecca Scott, director of communications for Woodfibre.
The Sirocco buildings, by Mireau Property Developments, are along the Mamquam Blind Channel, in downtown Squamish.
The development's three six-storey buildings will ultimately include 138 rental apartments and commercial space. Once completed, the development will also have 27 float homes and four floating commercial units.
Woodfibre LNG is leasing one building.
"Recognizing that rental vacancy rates in Squamish are amongst the lowest in the province, we are very aware of our potential impact on housing availability for Squamish residents. The lease allows us to provide some accommodation options that won’t remove any existing rental capacity from the market. While we can’t avoid all impacts, we can aim to make them the least disruptive possible. Leasing a portion of the Sirocco development is in our view the best opportunity toward that goal for the Squamish community.”
My Sea to Sky's Tracey Saxby said that this situation highlights one of the problems with the provincial Environmental Assessment process.
"Woodfibre LNG's environmental assessment said that there wasn't going to be a problem of adding 500 construction workers in town, in Squamish, but we have had a housing affordability crisis for five years," she said. "So while we were going through that process, and they knew there was a housing affordability crisis, the EA said there wasn't an issue."
My Sea to Sky has also called for the Environmental Assessment Office to suspend the environmental certificates of Woodfibre LNG and FortisBC until they have "properly assessed" the proposal of a workcamp at Britannia Beach.
The solution Saxby and My Sea to Sky has put forward is a floating workcamp near the Woodfibre LNG site.
"Where the workers are far way from Squamish, far away from the communities around Howe Sound. They are located at the site. We think that would be a better solution all around," she said.
There is a public information meeting regarding the LandSea workcamp on June 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Britannia Mine Museum.