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Whistler Chamber's Litwin leaves for B.C. chamber position

Briefs: Squamish Nation greenlights pipeline


Whistler Chamber of Commerce CEO Val Litwin will leave his position in a few months after accepting the role of CEO and president of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm really excited," Litwin said in an interview Monday, June 27. "B.C. is having its moment — we're leading economic growth."

Litwin, who was with the Whistler Chamber for almost three years, said the move is another great challenge.

"We're leading the conversation — we're not just a business organization, we're a community organization," he said. "The more we understand, the more we realize the vital and necessary role chambers play in our communities."

Since Litwin joined the Whistler Chamber, he has been instrumental in increasing membership and establishing an educational partnership with the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.

B.C. Chamber board chair, Patrick Giesbrecht, said in a release: "Val's unique strengths and experience made him truly the standout candidate... He brings energy, vision and entrepreneurial spirit to the helm of B.C.'s largest business organization."

Litwin said the collective drive of Whistler is just one part of a job here that was such a pleasure.

"It often sounds trite, but it's taken a village to create the success the chamber has had," Litwin said. "It's been a superhuman effort of the board and the resort partners."

Litwin will remain in his role in Whistler until the end of August. He starts his position in Vancouver in September.

Squamish Nation gives assent to Fortis BC

The Squamish Nation (SN) council has voted to approve an Environmental Assessment (EA) agreement for Fortis BC, marking another step forward for the proposed Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish.

In October 2015, the SN approved a similar EA for the Woodfibre LNG project based on 25 conditions — nine of which applied directly to the Fortis BC pipeline that will supply the project.

Two issues in particular were a concern for SN members: the location of the Fortis compressor station and the rerouting of the pipeline outside of the Skwelwil'em Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

Fortis selected a new site for the station — near Mount Mulligan — and agreed to reroute sections of its pipeline.

The EA will legally bind Fortis BC to meet all nine of the SN conditions, which include protection of the WMA, insurance coverage for any potential malfunctions of the project and no future expansion without SN approval.

If Fortis doesn't satisfy the conditions, the SN can either revoke the EA or pursue legal action.

"Under the Environmental Assessment Agreement, we become watchdogs over our territory — our land and aquatic habitats," Chief Ian Campbell said in a release.

"Squamish Nation has approval authority over aspects of the project that are much stronger than allowing the provincial government to monitor and enforce its conditions and plans."

Next steps for the project include the negotiation of an economic benefits agreement with each of Fortis BC, Woodfibre LNG and the provincial government.

-Braden Dupuis