Fresh off a trip to China with Premier Christy Clark and Squamish Nation chief Bill Williams, Squamish Mayor Rob Kirkham learned even more about a proposed LNG plant at Woodfibre during a Committee of the Whole meeting this week.
Byng Giraud, Vice President Corporate Affairs with Woodfibre Natural Gas Limited (WNGL), met with Kirkham and the rest of Squamish council for more than an hour on Tuesday, Dec. 3. In a presentation to the council members Giraud laid out all the benefits an LNG plant would bring to Squamish if it's eventually built at the former Woodfibre pulp mill site.
"It's a Brownfield site with 100 years of impact and most of it not positive," said Giraud.
There are a number of landfills on the site and some, according to Giraud, contain asbestos. He said the site is also contaminated with hydrocarbons and wood chips.
Giraud's company is currently cleaning up the site and committed to ensuring the LNG plant doesn't negatively impact the waters of Howe Sound.
Construction of the plant is expected to take 18 to 24 months, employing up to 200 people, with ongoing regular operations requiring about 100 workers.
Two key attractions of the site for Giraud's company, which bought the land for $26 million, are the high-voltage BC Hydro lines over the property and the natural gas line that was built to the site 23 years ago.
Giraud outlined how the public consultation process will play out as the proposed project goes through federal and provincial environmental assessment processes. He said WNGL plans to hold more public meetings than the number required by the two levels of government.
"We intend, frankly, to go above and beyond," said Giraud, with the first public meetings being planned for February.
He noted there are details yet to be worked out as WNGL is still early in the planning process. Three companies are working on design proposals for WNGL to consider.
One top concern about the proposed project is the impact the proposed facility would have on air quality. But Giraud said the plant will have minimal air quality impacts, and the three or four ships that would visit the plant each month won't spew diesel fumes into the air as the ships will run on natural gas.
Kirkham was in China from Nov. 21 to 28. While there he toured the Jiangsu Rudong LNG facility in Nantong with Clark and Williams. If the Woodfibre LNG proposal is approved the fuel passing through the facility will be transported to Nantong.