Woodfibre Natural Gas Ltd. is seeking more public input as it moves toward setting up near Squamish.
Vice president Byng Giraud said its early days for planning for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and that many of the most important questions Squamish residents have about the project haven't been determined yet by the company behind the proposal.
Two key decisions the company still has to make are whether the facility will be land-based or water-based and whether the facility will be powered by electricity or natural gas.
"We're going out to the community to say, 'What are your priorities? What are your values? What do you think are the things we need to study?'" said Giraud at a public information meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6. "As we hear that I'll be able to take that to our environmental consultants and to our engineers and say, 'These are the priority areas I need you to look at. I want you to examine these areas and our environmental consultants will bring their data back and that will actually influence the technology and design we choose."
Feedback from the community will influence the final project design, he said.
"If you don't go out early and ask those questions before you have answers then you're not sincerely consulting," said Giraud.
Concerns have been raised by the Squamish Wind Sports Society, tourism leaders, environmental advocates and the Future of Howe Sound Society (futureofhowesound.org). They are concerned about visual impacts, flaring, air quality impacts, backcountry access, wildlife impacts, safety, marine impacts, job creation, social impacts and the amount of tax revenue the facility will generate for the District of Squamish.
The company's consultation sessions wrap up on Saturday, Feb. 15 with an open house between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Executive Inn and Suites in Squamish.
The project will go through two environmental processes. The provincial government will lead one assessment and the other is a federal process. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced on Jan. 31 it has decided a federal environmental assessment is required. Details of the federal review haven't been released yet and the provincial environmental assessment office is in the pre-application stage with the Woodfibre proposal.
Woodfibre Natural Gas wants to build a natural gas liquefaction plant, an LNG storage facility and a marine terminal on property where Western Forest Products once operated a pulp mill on the western side of Howe Sound. The LNG processed at the facility is to be sent on large ships for use in Asia.