The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has accepted Woodfibre LNG’s application for an environmental assessment certificate and the public now has until March 9 to bring forward any concerns, but it looks like Coasters won’t get the opportunity to do so in their home town.
The EAO has scheduled three open houses this month to gather input from the community, but the Sunshine Coast isn’t on the open house list.
The open houses are scheduled for Squamish on Jan 28, West Vancouver Jan. 29 and Bowen Island Jan. 30.
The EAO didn’t require Woodfibre LNG to hold a meeting on the Coast because the office felt the meeting in Vancouver was in close enough proximity for residents, a representative from the EAO told Coast Reporter this week.
That hasn’t stopped the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) from pressing for a meeting locally, and senior planner David Rafael said staff are currently trying to talk to Woodfibre LNG about reconsidering their plans to skip the Coast.
Powell River - Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons said he has also been pushing for a local meeting.
“I emailed them telling them it’s either an unfortunate oversight or a deliberate attempt to deny constituents an opportunity to express their views on the project,” Simons said. “I sent it quite recently so I haven’t had a response. It’s absolutely ridiculous that they think this is a good process. It’s basically cheating the public of its right to participate.”
SCRD board chair Garry Nohr has also been asking for a meeting via West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country MP John Weston, who said this week he would try to help.
“I’m sure that people from the Coast can go to the other places, it’s just not as convenient, so we will check with people who are at the headquarters to let them know that people from the Sunshine Coast are asking for this and I will pass on this request,” Weston told Coast Reporter this week. “If we can have such a forum on the Sunshine Coast, then I would encourage for sure that it happen.”
Representatives from Woodfibre LNG would not commit to hosting a local meeting when questioned this week and instead invited Coasters to one of the three already planned open houses off Coast.
“The public is invited to provide feedback to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office on the Woodfibre EAC application through an online form: www.eao.gov.bc.ca; by mail: Environmental Assessment Office, PO Box 9426 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC, V8W 9V1; and by fax: 250-387-0230,” said Jennifer Siddon, senior manager, corporate communications for Woodfibre LNG. “The comments and questions will all become part of the public record, along with Woodfibre LNG’s responses.”