Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Premier Christy Clark has made it clear she wants government to proceed quickly with liquefied natural gas development in British Columbia.

But how fast is too fast?

That question is being raised in the wake of a decision to notify the public over the holiday period about a B.C. application concerning the environmental assessment of a proposed Woodfibre Natural Gas Ltd. plant near Squamish.

Story continues below advertisement

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency issued a press release on Tuesday, Dec. 17, informing the public that the B.C. government had applied to substitute the provincial environmental-assessment process for the federal one.

The federal government gave the public until Monday, Jan. 6, to comment.

Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day all fell during the public comment period.

Therefore, people worried about the building of a $1.6-billion LNG loading facility in Howe Sound had 10 working days to articulate and file their concerns about the proposed process change.

Of course, many people were busy with holiday festivities during that time, never saw the press release, and until now had no idea that they have just one day left to comment on the proposal that B.C. handle the environmental assessment.

With Ms. Clark hanging the credibility of her government on LNG development, there will be those who doubt the objectivity of the B.C. environmental-assessment process when it comes to this industry.

Vel Anderson, a member of the Elphinstone Electors Association, a citizens group in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, is one of those.

Story continues below advertisement

"I really believe it's beneficial to have both [levels of government involved]," Ms. Anderson said.

"[The federal assessment] will cover an extensive amount of concerns … whereas possibly the provincial process isn't as stringent."

Ms. Anderson said she believes people who live in Vancouver, West Vancouver, Gibsons, Lions Bay, Bowen Island and Squamish know little about the LNG project.

The project would see 40 LNG tankers a year plying the waters of Howe Sound.

"It's frightening what has happened," she said. "Here on this coast we received no information. … There's been nothing in our two local daily newspapers.

"There's been nothing about the facility that's going to go in at Woodfibre and yet we will be directly affected throughout this whole process."

Story continues below advertisement

In an e-mail she sent to the federal government on Friday, Ms. Anderson asked that the public deadline be extended until after an open house has been held on the Sunshine Coast.

In an e-mail she sent to the federal government on Friday, Ms. Anderson asked that the public deadline be extended until after an open house has been held on the Sunshine Coast.

"Thousands of people around the Coastal area of Howe Sound will be directly affected, and deserve to be informed," she wrote.

"Having this public comment period slated for over the holiday season, one wonders what's going on," she added in an interview. "It doesn't look like we're really invited to comment."

Ms. Anderson is also concerned about a $360-million, 52-kilometre pipeline that FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc. proposes to build from Coquitlam to the Woodfibre LNG plant, just seven kilometres southwest of Squamish. But public comment on that project, which is being environmentally assessed by the province, closed Dec. 16. If you blinked, you may have missed it.

When Ms. Anderson wrote to B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office to register her concerns about the pipeline, she was told she was too late to comment. Her e-mail was sent five minutes before midnight, Dec. 16.

Story continues below advertisement

The Woodfibre LNG plant is proposed for an old industrial site that has sat empty since 2006, after being used for nearly a century by pulp mills. Howe Sound is going through a period of remarkable ecological recovery in recent years, and there are understandable concerns about renewed industrial activity. But the company proposes to clean up the old site and do habitat improvement on a nearby salmon stream. Company consultations with First Nations are well under way and, so far at least, the Squamish Nation seems supportive. The associated pipeline would follow an existing pipeline route, creating minimal environmental impact.

So the project, on many fronts, looks like it could easily win support. Instead, the government has created a sense of unease by appearing to rush the process of public consultation.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies