FORTIS BC COMPRESSOR STATION ISSUES

Fortis BC is planning to build a high-pressure 24-inch pipeline along Finch Drive/Industrial Way and through the estuary to supply natural gas for the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant. This includes an electric-drive compressor station currently proposed for 12-acres of land in the Industrial Park. Compressor stations pressurize the gas so it can move along the pipeline. If you live or work near the pipeline or the compressor station, here are some things you should know:

Compressor stations are noisy

While electric-drive compressor stations are quieter than compressors that use natural gas, it is important to find out how noisy this compressor station will be. Compressor stations hum 24/7. Will there be “blow-downs” when a gas pipeline is taken offline for maintenance, in the event of emergencies, or to accommodate fluctuating demand? The noise from a “blow-down” is comparable to a commercial jet taking off.

Compressor stations can be dangerous

Accidents are fairly rare, but they do happen and when they do the results can be catastrophic causing loss of life, injuries, property damage, and environmental damage. Why is this compressor station being proposed in a populated area close to businesses, homes, a daycare, a playground, and our emergency response centre? What happens if something goes wrong? What is the emergency response? What will the evacuation area be if there is an explosion or a fire? What is the worst case scenario? How far away will the shut-off valves be? What is the response-time to close the shut-off valves? Shouldn’t this compressor station be located in a less-populated area?

How will this compressor station impact your health?

Compression stations can release significant amounts of natural gas (methane) via valves and gaskets that weaken and leak from corrosion and thermal stress. Natural gas also contains toxins, including mercaptan, mercury, and hydrogen sulfide. If there are leaks from the compressor station, how will this impact your health?

What will the emergency evacuation area be?

Previous compressor station accidents have required evacuation within a one-kilometer radius, sometimes for several days at a time. However, earlier this month there was an accident at a compressor station in Saskatoon that required evacuation of everyone within a three-kilometer radius. A three-kilometer evacuation radius from the compressor station would include everyone living on Finch/Raven, all of the No-Name Road area, Dentville, most of downtown, and even encompasses most of Valleycliffe and some of Garibaldi Estates.

The compressor station is sited on twelve acres of valuable employment lands and will only create two jobs

Squamish has limited employment lands. Fortis will employ just two people on 12 acres, while exposing nearby homes and businesses to the risk of a major industrial disaster. Shouldn’t we be making better use of our scarce industrial land? Whether you are for or against the project, we need to ask if there are other locations that will work to site the compressor station.

Proposed location of the compressor station may not be compliant with existing zoning

FortisBC is proposing to locate the compressor station at 1130 Resolution Way, which is zoned Light Industrial (Zoning I-1). According to the District of Squamish Zoning Bylaw, No 2200, 2011, "LIGHT INDUSTRIAL means a use providing for the processing, fabricating, assembling, leasing, warehousing, transporting, distributing, wholesaling, testing, servicing, or repairing of goods or materials, where the primary activity of such a use is carried out within or exterior to a building, which may be serviced with a railway spur. Includes Medical Marihuana Production Multiple Users." Other permitted uses as specified in Section 32 do not include the location of a compressor station within this zoning. FortisBC must find another location for this compressor station that has appropriate zoning.
Source: District of Squamish Zoning Bylaw, No 2200, 2011