District feedback to BCEAO about Woodfibre LNG and Fortis Eagle Mountain Pipeline Projects

District's public engagement process

A letter to Mayor and Council on behalf of My Sea to Sky.

Dear Mayor and Council,

Once again we applaud you for engaging the public on Woodfibre LNG and Fortis Eagle Mountain Pipeline projects. We were very pleased to see you consider public input as a key component to inform the District’s response to the BC Environmental Assessment Office. In reading the 2nd draft of the District feedback to the BCEAO and listening to your conversation last week we felt it important to share a few notes with you:

  1. Our community’s best interests are served by a strongly worded response regardless of what one’s position is on the projects.

    Numerous questions, significant information gaps, and considerable concerns have been identified by the public, the District LNG Committee, and the Working Group. It is clear that the projects are currently not acceptable to the community and the District should state so to the BCEAO to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved. Diluted or weak response will only serve to lessen our ability to mitigate negative impacts should the projects go ahead. To that end, we would please ask you to use language that clearly articulates that the District of Squamish is not prepared to support the approval of these projects.

  2. Public input was overwhelmingly opposed, please incorporate it meaningfully in the District response.

    Thank you for undertaking a major public engagement effort, that clearly showed the top 10 issues rising out of the process were all significant concerns, all of which were expressed by the District LNG Committee as well. The whole community had an opportunity to participate equally and the public clearly articulated their opposition to the projects. Please refrain from making any anecdotal evaluations of what the silent majority in the community may or may not think and ensure your response to the EA reflects the strength of the stated public opposition, concerns and community values.

  3. Act on behalf of the long-term interests of our community and our residents.

    You are standing at the doorway of our future and are about to influence a decision which will impact our community for decades to come (Note: the National Energy Board has recently been given the right to grant 40-year export contracts). Now more than ever we would ask you to be cognizant in reflecting the public sentiment and ensuring that Squamish remains a vibrant, sustainable, healthy, and livable community for the future generations. You, as our representative, have the power to act locally to the benefit of our community. Please do so responsibly.

  4. District of Squamish has taken a strong position in the EA feedback before, it should do so now.
    The 2010 District Resolution regarding Garibaldi at Squamish Environmental Assessment clearly articulated that the District did not support the issuance of an EA certificate due to multiple concerns. The concerns expressed about Woodfibre LNG and Fortis Eagle Mountain Pipeline proposals are much more significant with inadequate ability to mitigate negative impacts on the community. To that end, we submit the following proposed Resolution for Council’s consideration and adoption, to be submitted to the BCEAO alongside the letter response:

    WHEREAS the District of Squamish supports the provincial government’s goals “to grow our economy and provide jobs for B.C. families, while also promoting policies that encourage clean technology innovation and environmental sustainability”;

    WHEREAS the District of Squamish has assessed that the Woodfibre LNG and Fortis Eagle Mountain Woodfibre Gas Pipeline proposals do not meet the District’s desire to be leaders in, “economic development, and environmental sustainability”;

    WHEREAS the District of Squamish’s environment, economy and community will be significantly impacted by the Woodfibre LNG and Fortis Eagle Mountain Woodfibre Gas Pipeline proposals, including increased local GHG emissions, and setbacks to a growing green and sustainable economy that is dependent on the environmental restoration of the Salish Sea/Howe Sound;

    WHERES the District of Squamish is concerned that recent events have demonstrated critical shortcomings in Provincial and Federal regulations, enforcement, and resources to adequately prevent and/or respond to inevitable human error or natural disasters;

    WHEREAS the District of Squamish is significantly concerned that the proponents have not sufficiently addressed the fundamental requirements of the Environmental Assessment process including basic issues such as marine environment and local economic impacts, as well as public safety, as apparent from the Environmental Assessment Office documents, thorough community consultation, and District of Squamish Staff Committee analysis;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Council of the District of Squamish advise the Ministers of the Environment, Energy and Mines, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Natural Gas Development that the District of Squamish does not support issuance of an Environmental Assessment Certificate, conditional or otherwise, for the Woodfibre LNG or Fortis Eagle Mountain Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project proposals in their current form.

Thank you in advance for your commitment and effort on behalf of our community. We trust that you will demonstrate your leadership on this issue and act decisively on behalf and for the benefit of our entire community of Squamish.

Best regards,

Auli Parviainen on behalf of My Sea to Sky

CC. Tracey Saxby, Delena Angrignon, Kati Palethorpe, Melyssa Desilles, Eoin Finn, Joyce Williams – Co-Founders of Citizens of My Sea to Sky Society.

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