Woodfibre LNG finalizing $25m land purchase in Squamish

Sale of former pulp mill site expected to be finalized by mid-February 

Cutline: Nathan Gloag and Byng Giraud of Woodfibre LNG  Photo by Christine Endicott/The Squamish Chief

Woodfibre LNG may soon be able to cross “purchase property” off its to-do list.

Woodfibre’s 2013 purchase agreement with Western Forest Products for the 212 acres of waterfront land was dependent on remediation of the site and the granting of a certificate of compliance from B.C.’s environment ministry. That certificate was granted in November, according to Nathan Gloag, Woodfibre LNG’s project manager.

The company is now in the final weeks of negotiation to close the $25.5 million deal, Gloag said. The sale should be finalized by mid-February.

Environmental groups, including My Sea to Sky, have vigorously opposed the planned LNG processing and export facility set for about five kilometres southwest of downtown Squamish.

One common concern is the proposed facility’s impact on Howe Sound.

Gloag said the process of taking and returning 17,000 cubic metres per hour of Howe Sound water to treat the facility will meet or exceed department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada guidelines.

The water will be diffused when it is returned to Howe Sound, and the water temperature difference when it is returned to the sound will be about one degree warmer within 10 metres of the outtake diffuser, according to the company. The water used will be treated with chlorine, but the amount of the chemical that would potentially make it into Howe Sound would be miniscule, said Gloag. He said that the company continues to try to find better solutions that would have even less impact on Howe Sound.

According to Rich Wildman, an environmental chemist from Quest University who is also on the district’s Woodfibre LNG Community
Committee, the better questions are not being asked about the impact of the facility on marine life.

Wildman said global research has been conducted to make sure intakes and outtakes of water are relatively safe, but not enough research has been done on the acoustic impact of facilities such as Woodfibre’s proposed plant.

“People have thought about this far more than they have thought about the health of dolphins and killer whales and fish when acoustic noises are made.”

Sqaumish Chief