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'Floatel' not sunk yet

Squamish District Council agrees to second vote

photo: Bridgemans

Proponents of the Woodfibre Liquefied Natural Gas (WLNG) proposed worker housing ship, dubbed the WLNG 'floatel', managed to keep their heads above water this month, as District of Squamish council has agreed to put a review of the proposed temporary use permit (TUP) back on the agenda for the June 4 meeting.

The floatel is a refurbished cruise ship that can accommodate more than 600 temporary work crews at the WLNG plant. If approved it will be moored at the Woodfibre site on the west side of Howe Sound.

The TUP was initially voted down by Squamish District council at a meeting on April 30. However, according to council procedure, the issue can be readdressed within 30 days. As the subject was brought forward at the May 21 meeting, a second vote will now be held on June 4.

Tracey Saxby, Executive Director of My Sea To Sky, attended the May meeting with a number of individuals protesting the project. Saxby said she supports the District's earlier decision to deny the temporary use permit.

"Woodfibre LNG has an opportunity to do the right thing and work with the District of Squamish to address the community's concerns. They need to complete the assessments that are essential to properly evaluate whether this floating work camp is in the best interests of the people of the community of Squamish and safe for WLNG's workers."

While WLNG representatives did not speak at the meeting, two letters from WLNG president Christine Kennedy addressing issues from the April 30 meeting were discussed.

In one letter, Kennedy noted that in response to concerns expressed during the marathon public hearing held at Brennan Park Arena in Squamish on April 23, WLNG has increased the project guarantee from $2 million to $10 million.

During the discussion that followed, there was some concern expressed as to whether these details represented new information, which procedurally should not be introduced after a public hearing.

In the end, it was decided to bring the TUP back for another vote at the June 4 meeting.

Should this application fail, the option still exists for WLNG to re-apply for the permit, including the new information regarding the change in guarantee amount and the recently-approved Gender and Cultural Safety Plan.

The next regular meeting of District of Squamish Council will be held June 4 at 6 p.m., along with a 'Special Business' meeting held that same day. Details can be found on the district website HERE.

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This Floatel will be devastating to the auqu-culture of this sound. In 1985 I came to Kelvin Grove to scuba dive as I had taken my diving licence in an Alberta mountain lake and had yet to dive in the ocean. At that time, there were some seals, the odd otter and a murky coppery coloured water that tasted like salt and metal. It was terrible. I dove the Kelvin Grove dive site some 30+ years later and the water was crisp, clean and had fantastic visibility. No more metal taste as the Squamish mine had been cleaned up and I could hear whales under the water. Other divers have heard their song too - we talk about it quietly…

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