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DSCN1419It was only a year ago at the S.O.S. Rendezvous on the water at McNab Creek that the awareness of the scale of the proposed changes started to sink in. Logging up to one quarter of Gambier Island, an Independent Power Project in the McNab Valley, an LNG processing and export facility at Woodfibre and a possible incineration plant at Port Mellon is a lot to take onboard inside twelve months.

Since the start of the new year, people around the Sound have become very active and are investing enormous amounts of time becoming better informed, connecting, organizing and taking action.  For the many people around Howe Sound working on these issues, it is overwhelming and very distracting.  The concern about these projects detracts from work and other, far more pleasant, priorities

The pressure on citizens is fuelled by information received primarily through the media about the Province’s and proponent’s plans for Howe Sound.  Information received directly from the proponents is minimal and contradictory at times.   A recent example is the Woodfibre LNG project.  On May 14th various media sources reported Woodfibre Natural Gas Ltd. would commit to powering with electricity making it the “greenest LNG Project”.   Woodfibre’s  V.P. Corporate Affairs was quoted as saying at a recent presentation this change to their project would be reflected in their application to the Province.   This is not the case however.  Woodfibre’s Draft Application for Information Requirements submitted to the BC Environmental Assessment Office, still leaves the option open for both gas and electric power.  The Working Group has until June 2nd to provide comments back on the application, then Draft Application for Information Requirements will be made public and open for comment  for a 30 day period early this summer.  For public relations this announcement was very positive, but  not backed up with evidence of commitment to that course.

The Working Group has until June 2nd to provide comments back on the application. Then, the Draft Application for Information Requirements (AIR) will be made public and open for public comment early this summer.

Fortis BC  are scoping the feasibility of doubling the pipeline to supply gas to the Woodfibre plant but already has scope creep.  Though the original project description, National Energy Board approvals and Environmental Assessment Application all described a 20″ pipe, the size has now changed to a 24″ pipe – a volume expansion of a whopping 44%. These significant changes are occurring quickly as the Province is in a rush to see Woodfibre LNG become the first export facility on the West coast. Indeed, the first – ever – in Canada.

If the lack of facts in the lines of communication are any indication of the haste with which these high-risk facilities may get built in the rush for LNG exports, we are in serious trouble. Rushed project plans do not make for effective public participation, social license and safe operation.

The Future of Howe Sound Society is working closely with a network of concerned people to monitor how  the facts match the communication to the public.

List of citizens groups engaged (to name a few):

Woodfibre LNG:  My Sea to Sky

Gambier Woodlots:  Gambier Island Conservancy

Port Mellon Waste to Energy: Zero Waste Canada

Save Howe Sound, Again:


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