94 per cent opposition to Woodfibre from municipal candidates answering LNG survey

94% opposition to Woodfibre from municipal candidates answering LNG survey

94 per cent opposition to Woodfibre from municipal candidates answering LNG survey
Rendering of proposed Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish, BC

Of the 31 candidates who responded to a recent questionnaire on the controversial Woodfibre LNG proposal for Howe Sound, 29 – or 94% – were opposed.

most-common-reasons (1)The survey, conducted by Propeller Strategy, was presented by phone or email to all 98 candidates in the region of the project’s proposed Squamish plant and tanker route – encompassing Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast. Of the 88 still known to be in the race as of this week – representing the communities of Squamish, West Vancouver, Bowen Island, Gibsons, Lions Bay and Whistler – many chose not to put their positions on the record.

Only two Squamish candidates firmly stood up for the project, which has drawn strong opposition from outgoing municipal councils – including votes for tanker bans by West Vancouver, Lions Bay, and Gibsons.

Chief among the concerns of these municipal leaders have been environmental and safety risks associated with the project and what is seen to be a negative economic trade-off for an area building a modern economy based on tourism, academia, and the growing presence of the recreation technology sector and entrepreneurs attracted by the lifestyle offered by the Sea to Sky region.

At a September meeting where representatives of the project – owned by Indonesian Billionaire Skuanto Tanoto – pled their case to West Van Council, Councillor Mary-Anne Booth openly scoffed at the paltry job promises from Woodfibre:

[quote]For the risk that’s associated with this and the impact to that area, for…dozens of jobs – that’s the best you can do? And we’ve got to to stand for that? You haven’t convinced me.[/quote]

Yet despite the high rate of opposition amongst candidates who answered the survey, Stan Proboszcz, a director of Propeller Strategy, was surprised at the reluctance of many candidates to put their opinions on the record, after being contacted up to 3 times.

“Woodfibre LNG is one of the biggest election issues in the region, yet it seems some candidates aren’t eager to provide a straight-up yes or no answer about whether they support it or not,” says Proboszcz.

The survey will remain open to any candidates who still wish to make their opinion of the project known prior to the November 15 election.

The most common reasons for opposing the project, in order of priority, were:

  1. environmental risks
  2. economic risks
  3. human safety concerns
  4. navigational hazards of tankers

The two candidates backing Woodfibre are doing so because of economic benefits and a lack of known negative impacts to the community.

Based on the focus placed on the proposal by departing councils over the past year, whether or not candidates are putting their positions on the record now, they are bound to have to do so soon after they assume office.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

12 thoughts on “94% opposition to Woodfibre from municipal candidates answering LNG survey

  1. I hope voters in the Sea to Sky corridor do not vote for any candidate who does not have the balls to share her or his opinion on this project. I hope that groups and locals who oppose this project may reach out to those who have yet to share their opinion to inform them of the major concerns that locals have about this project.

    Please keep up the pressure to stop this insane project.

  2. How come all of a sudden we have to let foreign companies ram through their huge projects like the Enbridge and Trans Mt. pipelines, become a major shipper of USA thermal coal and build over a dozen LNG plants ? Oh right…site C damn. The benefits to the average BCer from any of these projects is negligible but the risks to our environment is huge. Have the Liberals reall screwed up our economy so much that we have to resort to these mega projects ? Insanity.

  3. This project would get its power from BC Hydro.

    New power for BC Hydro comes from new IPPs, run-of-river etc. I presume that BC Hydro would sell power to Woodfibre LNG for less than what it pays for the power from the new IPPs.

    We are allowing private companies, some foreign-owned, to benefit from putting hydro projects on our creeks and rivers, so BCH can re-sell the power at a loss to projects like this. No thanks.

  4. Unfortunately 94 % opposition means nothing to the companies or govts that want to ram this through. Contracts signed, deals done. If we successfully cancel this at a later date.
    Lawsuits and settlements for millions.
    And the rich get richer off the backs of the taxpayer

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