Boaters fill Howe Sound to protest possible LNG plant in Squamish

Dozens of ships filled southern Howe Sound today to rally against the proposed Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish.

“Their own industry says do not put LNG plants in narrow inland waterways with significant ferry, recreational and commercial traffic and that’s exactly a good description of at least southern Howe Sound,” says Eoinn Finn, co-founder of the My Sea to Sky group that helped organize the event.

For it’s part, Woodfibre LNG Limited says Howe Sound is not considered a narrow waterway by national and international industry standards.

The $1.7 billion project is considered one of the most developed LNG proposals in the province. The land where the plant would sit is properly zoned, and a hydroelectricity line is already in place to provide energy.

In addition, natural gas is already provided to Squamish from Fortis BC and supply agreements have already been made for the gas with Asian companies. And an LNG terminal on the land would ensure a full environmental cleanup from the decades of damage caused by the former pulp mill.

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READ MORE: Squamish LNG proposal crystallizes debate on city’s past, and future

But the project is currently opposed by city council, and the Squamish Nation has put forward a list of 25 conditions that would need to be met for their consent.

“While we understand the strong feelings associated with the Woodfibre LNG proposal, it is important to point out that no decision has yet been made. And, during this review phase, Squamish Nation Council continues to reach out to its members. Only when Squamish Nation Council has carefully reviewed all aspects of the proposal – paying particular attention to the ’25 conditions’ – will council vote to accept or reject the proposal,” said Squamish Chief Ian Campbell in a statement today.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions about whether it would negatively impact other economic drivers in the community, whether or not the environmental impacts will be significant, there’s definitely potential for air quality issues,” said Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman last month.

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A review of the project by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office was suspended late last month to give Woodfibre time to respond to the demands of the Squamish Nation – meaning the debate will rage for some time to come.

“They’re making a profit,” says Finn.

“They’re a corporation and they’re entitled to make a profit off of their endeavors, but not at the expense of our environment and our safety.”

WATCH: A tour of proposed LNG plant near Squamish