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'Floatel' Faces More Public Consultation

District of Squamish seeks more answers before permit approval


Photo: Woodfibre LNG

District of Squamish councillors have once again deferred a decision on a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) approval for the proposed floating work camp at the Woodfibre Liquefied Natural Gas (WLNG) site.


After discussion at the regular council meeting held June 4, councillors decided to seek more consultation in light of new information that has been received since the public hearing on the so-called 'floatel' in April.


Mayor Armand Hurford noted that, in addition to the change in guarantee from $2 to $10 million, council has received hundreds of new submissions since the six-hour public hearing held on April 3 at Brennan Park Recreation Centre.


These include concerns regarding a hazard assessment of the Henriette Lake Dam. The floatel is expected to be anchored near where flood waters would be released should there be a breach of the dam.


The TUP was referred back to staff so that they can work with WLNG to identify an increase to the security deposit to $10 million, the risk (if any) the Henriette Lake Dam poses, and how WLNG and Fortis can outline the cumulative impacts of both the LNG and pipeline projects on the community and offer an understanding of the current level of compliance to conditions. Prior to a decision on the TUP, a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting of council and a further public hearing will be scheduled.


Councillor Lauren Greenlaw said that her biggest concern was getting Fortis and Woodfibre at the table to discuss the cumulative impacts of the project on the community. She noted that the floatel offers housing for less than half the proposed work force, and that the Fortis worker site is to be located beside the university in town.


Councillor Eric Anderson, the only member who voted against the motion, said he feels council has strayed too far from the only issue at hand, the issuance of the TUP for the floating worker housing. He admitted that he is not opposed to a COW meeting, but said he is skeptical as to the value of another public hearing.


He added that while he has received additional information since the public hearing, "I have not received additional information that addressed a topic or issue that was not discussed in some capacity in the written materials or oral submissions we received on that date."


In a separate issue, Council considered correspondence from Squamish Chamber of Council Executive Director Anne MacKenzie expressing concerns regarding employment, sub-contracting and procurement opportunities through WLNG for local residents as laid out in section 13 of their Environmental Assessment certificate, as well as a letter of reply from Christine Kennedy, President of WLNG.


Council reiterated their interest in ensuring all expectations are met across the entire project, with Hurford referring to his draft replies to both WLNG and Fortis on the subject.


The next meeting of District of Squamish Council is a special business meeting set for June 11.


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