The province’s Ministry of Environment has extended the 30-day comment period on the Woodfibre liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, but has still not committed to holding public information meetings on the Sunshine Coast.
In an email exchange with Coast Reporter, the Ministry said the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) would be posting additional information for the project’s cumulative effects assessment and “a list of potential accidents and malfunctions that the proponent must provide information on.”
Once the documents are posted to the BCEAO website, “the current comment period will be extended so there are a full 30 days available to comment on the additional information,” the Ministry said, adding that the documents were expected to be online by June 20.
Earlier this month, the Future of Howe Sound Society called for the BCEAO to extend the comment period, which began June 12, to 45 days and schedule open houses in West Vancouver and Gibsons.
The Ministry defended its decision to hold only one open house at this stage of the process.
“The EAO’s open house for the current phase of the environmental assessment is in Squamish, as that is where the facility would be located and the majority of potential effects could occur,” the Ministry said.
The Squamish open house was held June 18.
The Ministry confirmed there would be “another comment period in the fall after Woodfibre LNG submits their application for an environmental assessment certificate” to the BCEAO. “The application will contain information on the potential effects to valued components, including potential cumulative effects. At this time plans have not been made for the time or location of open houses during the future comment period.”
Future of Howe Sound Society executive director Ruth Simons called BCEAO’s decision to post new information and extend the comment period “good news.”
Citing the potential hazards of LNG supertankers plying the waters of Howe Sound, Simons’ group and local governments such as the Sunshine Coast Regional District have argued that BCEAO should enlarge the scope of its consultation to include all communities in the region.
© Coast Reporter