Anti-LNG Protest Draws 200 People

LNG

As many as 200 people walked through downtown Squamish on Sat, Nov. 8, to protest the proposed Woodfibre LNG project.
Photo: Gagandeep Ghuman

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Nov 9, 2014

Asa McKee calls himself a redneck environmentalist. He eats meat, he hunts and spends as much time as possible on the water with a fly rod. And he doesn’t believe Woodfibre LNG is a good fit for our community.

On Saturday, Nov. 8, Asa and Tamar McKee, along with their daughter, were among the 200 people who walked through Cleveland Ave to protest the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant.

LNG-mckee

Asa and Tamar McKee with their daughter were among the 200 people who came to protest the proposed  LNG project. Photo: Gagandeep Ghuman

Peter Kent, Auli Parviainen, Karen Elliott, Glenn Campbell, and Debra McBride were among the council candidates who were part of the protest.  

After a walk through downtown, the protestors lined up on Cleveland Ave, on the entrance to downtown Squamish, waving anti-LNG placards to drivers who either honked vigorously or just looked away.

The McKees moved to Squamish from Colorado in 2012 to build a future for their family in the Sea to Sky country. If Woodfibre LNG came to Squamish, however, they will move again, said  Tamara McKee, who teaches cultural anthropology at SFU and UBC.

McKee said there is too much at stake—the health of Howe Sound, possibility of an accident with FortisBC, and pollution from the project—for them to support this project.

“Woodfibre LNG seems to be ten steps backwards and if that happens, we don’t want to stay in Squamish,” she said.

Long-time Squamish resident Judith Vetsch said the pulp mill and the Britannia Mine has done enough damage to the Howe Sound. She said the Squamish council seem afraid to take a strong stand on the Woodfibre LNG project.

“They seem to be holding back,” she said.

Council candidate Phil Audet said the proponents have been evasive in answering questions about where the gas will come from. Audet said he is also concerned about the shady human rights and environmental record of the Woodfibre LNG site owner, Sukanto Tanoto.

Another local, Kati Palethorpe, said the government and private sector need to subsidise and invest in renewable energy.

lng-judith

Long time resident Judith Vetsch (second from right) said the council has been afraid to take a stand on LNG. With council candidate Phil Audet and Dee Hildebrand.

Originally from Germany, Palethorpe said her visits back home are a reminder of the commitment that country has for alternative energy with investments in solar and windmills.

“It’s not stuff of the future, it’s already happening in Europe,” she said.

Woodfibre LNG in Squamish is an example of a short-sighted thinking that has consequences for local environment, she adds.

“If we destroy the water, the air and the ocean, we are hooped,” she said.

Comments

  1. jp says:

    The typical anti lng protester – as profiled in the article (Mckee’s). Just moved to town. Commutes to Vancouver, does not work in town. Squamish is a place to sleep and recreate. No concern on jobs, tax base etc for our community. The candidates mentioned above are the same. More fear mongering. What the heck is Peter Kent going to do about LNG? Is he going to TERMINATE it??

    • Dave Beech says:

      So if you had the guts to actually put your name instead of just your initials to this you might be a bit more credible. As for your assumptions they are wrong. I have lived here for 22 years and raised my kids here and contributed to many community organizations. I don’t want to see my town hijacked to the benefit of a very few and the detriment of many including future generations. The promise of jobs and tax revenue is a lie.

      • Kevin Erickson says:

        Hi Dave. Woodfibre LNG has put forward their job numbers and minimal property tax contributions to the district many times – both verbally and in print. I put it to you, please substantiate where the lie is? Also, drop the hyperbole and tell me what is the detriment you talk about?

    • mh says:

      Typical WLNG advocate – old school local, hates seeing new educated people with fresh ideas move to town, wants Squamish to return to its glory days of smelly and polluting industry when no one would dare stop here and there wasn’t a bit of marine life in sight. Step aside sir, you had your turn and it clearly failed. We brought the gondola to ‘your’ town, just wait ’til you see what else we can do for your tax base that doesn’t require selling our souls to the Chinese or a human rights and eco terrorist like Sukanto Tanoto. There are no jobs at WLNG for you or your friends, and you’re being far to short sighted about building the tax base, but don’t worry – we’ll think long term and fix town for you. Don’t forget to vote.

      • carolyn says:

        Hello mh,
        Way to go and disrespect the “old school local” that built this town and infrastructure. Way to go and infer that us “old school” are uneducated! Way to belittle and insult the culture and history of this town. The “old school” locals built the hospital, Brennan Park, schools, golf course, trails, and yes the “old school” supported the Gondola.
        Do you not remember the NIMBY’s like you the”friends of the squamish chief” that opposed the Gondola?
        This “old school local” was raised here and raised my family here.
        I love this town and yes I am educated.

      • larry mclennan says:

        Mh- if you are presenting your views as representative of an allegedly “…new educated..” change in the ergonomic composition of the District of Squamish ; I suggest that you might consider usuing some actual facts rather than some amorphous blather about a “…clearly failed…’ Squamish. I’m also suprised that your seemingly xenophobic delaration regarding the Chinese hasn’t been taken to task by others of your ilk- upon reflection perhaps not so suprised. By the way, before describing Mr. Tanoto as a “…terrorist…” you might want to get some legal advice. What, by the way , is the source of your self-implied superior education and how does that make your opinions superior to the ‘…old school locals…” whom you apparently sneer at ?- just asking.

  2. Jean says:

    Missing where many, that were at home waiting for the real demonstration when EA is announcing its findings . Absent where those candidates, that are not working or interested in the people and more into the economy, or shall we say, false hope of an LNG real economic impact for Squamish.

  3. G_h says:

    I hate how people bring young kids to street protests. There seems to be this naive idea amongst a certain type of parent that children are somehow well enough informed to have an opinion. To me, that idea is all part of this dumbing-down of complex nuanced issues to empty slogans.

    • Theresa Beech says:

      Hiding your children from reality instead of teaching them to have a voice and stand up for what they believe in is how we end up with so much apathy and complacency. This peaceful demonstration is how we involve our children in social responsibility, and I for one applaud those parents.

      • Christine Elliott says:

        As a grandmother, I love how young families are teaching their children about the environment. Its important to have respect for it, without it we have nothing.

      • Kevin Erickson says:

        Nothing wrong with taking your children but, taking a 3 year old and having them wave a placard as if they are old enough to have an informed opinion is a bit over the top. Teens yes, although I might question their reasoning, as there is a rebellious nature that comes with youth but a toddler, I don’t think so.

    • Ed Alder says:

      Seems also that hundreds of protestors think they themselves are informed enough to have an opinion! I will bet that 90 to 100% of those same individuals have a natural gas furnace and/or hot water tank. But that’s not hypocritical in the least is it?

      • Jean says:

        You have a Domestic Gas Burner ETC… You just don,t get it…. .Once Fortis can sell our resource to the highest bidder elsewhere, you will pay 3X as much minimum for your gas here, say we pay 4$ GJ now, they plan on making money selling it at 15GJ … they already are loosing money as the Russians are selling it for 11Gj so to tag along at loss, they will sell you the same stuff for ~11GJ so you have the privilege to see the commodity disappear and then buy it at inflated prices … you guys just don,t get it…… DO YOU ? or are you all thinking Onkle TO.. will give you a job , one of the about 25 by my calculation if he, as he already announced, will run 5 shifts…You just don get it Do you….

        • Larry McLennan says:

          Jean- perhaps you are using the “new math” to calculate the number of permanent jobs created but , in my day- 25 x 5= 125 jobs available but , then again, perhaps I”m just not “getting it” whatever your “it” is. Perhaps your reasoning is that if there is one job but three people will be required to do that job over a 24 hour period the that is only one job but three people doing it. For me, three people doing a single task (duty) in a day is three jobs.

          • Jean says:

            Accountants are so clever.. As I hear it shifts does not mean 8 hrs job security… and 5 shifts they announced. Could it be a couple shifts at regular 8 hrs for accountants and other VIP,s and the rest when the ship comes in, we used to call it part time but a Spinn Dr would call it a job!!

          • Larry McLennan says:

            Come on Jean- WLNG has announced several times that there are expected to be over 100 FTE jobs created (mostly for locals by the way). You’re just making assumptions based on a negative attitude towards WLNG and LNG generally. You should rely less on the much debunked utterances of individuals such a Tim Riley et al and attempt to review both sides of the story. As an example- how much of the utterances of Eoin Finn/My Sea to Sky do you accept as truthful. Personally, I view Mr. Finn’s declarations of a “marine desert” and other catastrophies caused by the WLNG as bogus but, then again, I bothered to examine the facts as fully as I could. Do you do the same? Do your own due diligence.

  4. G_h says:

    The other thing that strikes me about this article is what a great country Canada is. Where you can pursue something as frivolous as “cultural anthropology” whilst having an inalienable right to bad-mouth the resource and hydro-carbon industries, that provide much of the tax wealth that funds you.

  5. MattB says:

    Yes, the WLNG debate has been a lightning rod topic and one which certainly drew my attention in a big way to municipal politics this election. I believe this issue will be decided more by economics and provincial politics than by our municipal representatives but I think its important to have this debate. This is the first time I have been actively involved in this election and its been a great experience. And there are a few councilors who have impressed me in this election with their commitments to this town. One is Peter Kent.

    Peter has a number of compelling ideas on how to bring a broader range of businesses and active tech savvy entrepreneurs to this town which will boost employment and our local economy. His more than 3 decades of experience in the entertainment industry gives him a unique advantage – he has been actively working to bring entertainment-based companies to the town. One potential candidate is a special effects company that could employ up to 40 people. He also believes that Squamish would be a great place to set up a production studio which makes tremendous sense since Squamish is already a popular place to film movies and TV productions. The problem, as Peter explains it, is that companies coming here to shoot must wait for the weather to cooperate which can mean shutting down and moving back to Vancouver to shoot indoor scenes in a studio which is a very costly loss of time. If we had a studio here, these production companies could stay in Squamish and film these scenes here and would then be able to film the entire shoot here. As a municipal representative Peter could advise and assist the town on how to actively pursue this goal. He is passionate about this and other issues we face as a growing town.

    No matter what your stance on WLNG and big industry, few would argue with the statement that its important that we in Squamish diversify our corporate and commercial base and work toward attracting new employers and businesses of all sizes. I believe Peter deserves a chance to put his ideas into action.

    • G_h says:

      Seems like some confusion about the role of council here. A production studio may or may not be a great idea, but that’s a matter for private business not the district. And the district already has a full-time staff member entrusted to liaising with the events and film world. I recall PK talking publicly about applying for that job a couple of years ago …if so, he didn’t get it despite his “3 decades of experience”.

  6. Jon S. says:

    More like 150 people showed up! Sure the Facebook event indicated that 200 people accepted the invite but by my count 150 would have been a stretch. This is the same group of 100 activists that have showed up at all of the other protests.

    This protest represents less than 1% of Squamish residents, not even including the number of protestors that drove up from Vancouver or elsewhere. Just take a look at the Facebook event and check out some of the attendees Facebook profiles. Nearly half indicated that they lived in Vancouver, Whistler or elsewhere. Think of the carbon footprint that this protest had with all these traveling protesters. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

    • Christine Elliott says:

      David Suzuki was finishing off the Blue Dot Tour on the same day being honored by Squamish First Nation which I’m sure took a few people away from the protest. My son in law grew up on an orchard and they sprayed chemicals that I didn’t agree with. Even my daughter thought I was being silly about spraying, until they had children of their own. Now everything they buy is organic. So you see it is the wise old adage that if it does not affect you personally why care? This isn’t about Canadians getting from A to B in a car, this is about exporting our natural resources into a global economy and fracking our land to get to the product. If you had the experience of living downwind from a gas plant you would be opposed, maybe? There are other ways to make money that do not harm the environment and some of the recommendations that MaxB mentioned are great ideas.

      • larry mclennan says:

        Christine;- did something terrible relating to spraying happen to your grandchildren- if so , you have my sympathies. As to “organic” you may want to refer to an interesting article -Best Health Magazine-“Does Organic Mean Healthier ?” by Michael Downey. Your daughter & son-in-law may be spending a lot more money for food than necessary for little or no actual benefit. PS I had that concept for a Movie Set being established (in Britannia in my case) a decade ago & I only had one days experience in the movie industry as an extra. As to other ideas for Squamish- I approached Capilano College (at that time) and suggested that a plan for a technical school being established in conjunction with the college be persued (benefits jobs, career development for locals and other students, money being spent within the community)Ahead of my time apparently as we now have a shortage of skilled tradespeople- many of whom , by the way, are doing very well due to trhe hydrocarbon industry. Succinctly- nothing happened. Bottom line , there’s lots of ideas out there-good ideas on surface- which just die of disinterest. LNG is a tangible one which, IMO , will be good for the community- even organic food eating ones who might get a job where they could afford the organic prices.

  7. T-800 says:

    The TV/Film business brought 5 million dollars to Squamish last year as per Squamish Vital Signs Report. And before Clark decided to snuff our film industry, brought in a billion dollars a year province wide. Film is a green/sustainable industry, who’s trickle down effect is massive throughout the community. I think with his 30+ year background in the Hollywood Studio system, who’s also received the highest award in Canadian Television for TV Excellence, and I believe is the only Canadian in the Hollywood Stuntman’s Hall of Fame, can you suggest somebody more qualified? He would be a HUGE asset to our council, not just because of his film knowledge, but because of his experience and knowledge in general. P.S. He I’m pretty sure he will TERMINATE LNG

    • Kevin Erickson says:

      T-800:
      Please tell me how the film industry is green! The crews drive to remote locations in big fuel burning vehicles. The portable dressing rooms are heated by propane furnaces. They build temporary sets that are a one use only. And here is the best one: most of the pyro-technics that are filmed use fossil fuels for effect. And lastly, the last time I checked the major studios are not filming on digital but on film, another petroleum product. Nothing wrong with supporting the film industry, The money they spend is large but please don’t tag them as green as it is a totally wasteful industry.

  8. Asa McKee says:

    So much to reply to, as much of what we talked about with The Squamish Reporter was not included for brevity’s sake. We were quoted as saying WLNG “seems to be ten steps backward” – but we also said that there are many steps going forward and only that WLNG could undo all this positive growth. Steps forward: Sea-to-Sky Gondola, Quest University and its tremendous growth, efforts by Downtown Squamish to unite and connect businesses with community members and events, the growing attraction of fishing because the salmon runs have started to rebound, and all the new and improved trails and recreation options – just to name a scant few. We want to help foster this growth and more, so that economic prosperity and well being can be experienced by all walks of life, no matter class, race, status, and so forth.

    Next, to address some of the comments and the assumptions and stereotypes placed upon us without even knowing us.

    Are we a “Typical LNG protestor” who “just moved to town?” Even though we arrived at the same time as many newcomers, we are not part of the urban flight from Vancouver or any other part of Canada or the U.S. Squamish first stood out as a midway point between Vancouver and Whistler, but since then I have come to work locally for two companies in Squamish and TAMAR (no “a” on the end) has interviewed for several local businesses as well after completing her degree only this past July (which I supported through my three local jobs, not through hydro-carbon industries). UBC and SFU are just the beginning and most readily available jobs for her after her hard-fought Ph.D.

    “Squamish is a place to sleep and recreate” – yes, it is, because we live here and have the added bonus of incredible land to explore. But for us, it is also the birthplace of our daughter, the unceeded territory of the Coast Salish people (how’s that for a frivolous cultural anthropologist?), and a place we are working very hard to call home if sustaining and ethical employment opportunities present themselves.

    Like another commenter, we would love to be able to live here for 22+ years, raise our kids here and participate in community organizations. We just don’t see how WLNG is aligned with that vision; however, we also spoke to The Squamish Reporter about other forms of green energy possible coming to Squamish.

    About bringing our kid to a protest: we did so, so that our daughter knows that we tried.

    About our carbon footprint: we walk, bike, or carpool to our jobs/outings every day.

    In sum: we don’t want to leave, but we don’t want to raise our child in an industrial wasteland or at the shores of a re-deadened Sound.

  9. Mark says:

    It seems alot of the newcomers to Squamish have there own vision of what THEY want the town to be.

  10. Jp says:

    Who does t-800 think funds the film industry? People can afford to spend money on discretionary things like film and art because they have a JOB!! The industry exists because they have access to financing from the banks and other corporations. Film is sustainable?? What are the long term effects of CGI on the film industry?
    If Mr. Kent thinks he can terminate LNG, he still believes sci-gi is real and he is Arnold’s twin.

    • larry mclennan says:

      Apparently do somersaults in front of a camera for 40 years can have an effect on you mental functions.

  11. Elliot says:

    This town was not so positive and wonderful up til about 5 years ago. God bless the new residents for their ideas, energy, and commitment to uplifting the community. I’ve been here for 20 years, and there is nothing in the ways of the so-called old timers to be proud of – Remember the drug dealers and crackheads running rampant downtown; remember the terrible problems with in attendance at school by both rude children and apathetic absentee parents; remember the bar fights; remember the break-ins, harassment, and assaults by thugs on innocent people? Remember the thick pollution consistently laying over the valley? I even remember workers coming home drunk after each day’s work at the mill! What this town has grown into by new residents is nothing short of a miracle, I never would have expected. Thank you!

  12. JP says:

    Wow……….
    Dear Eliot,
    What a short-sighted ignorant thing to say about our community.
    Are you saying that there are not drug dealers, rude children, drunks, bar fights, break-ins and problems now? The drug dealers and bar fights just moved to the new Casino!!
    The social problems you mentioned are issues that ALL communities face and to say they vitally disappeared because of the new residents is absurd.
    What you failed to mention is one of the current problems that Squamish faces – children having social and family issues because mommy and/or daddy has to commute to Vancouver everyday because there are very few high paying jobs in Squamish!! Our kids are being raised in day cares and nannies.

  13. Elliot says:

    Of course all communities have these problems, but it was exceptionally bad here before. And by contrast it is better than average now!! With many young active families and great caring parents. Anyone with eyes can see that!

    • larry mclennan says:

      Elliott-What data are you using for your declarations of this measurable and fundamental positive social change in the last five years due to new folks moving to town ? It sounds to me as if you just made them up to suit your position. What is the average you refer to? Squamish didn’t have active families and caring parents before five years ago? How do you know? I’ve been here for 25 years ,coached hockey and been active in the community. It seemed to me Squamish ,during that period ,had lots of active and caring parents. Frankly, it appears to me that your statements reflect an arrogant and entitlement-based elitism-hopefully not attributible to the majority of new folks in town .

  14. Neil says:

    mh…..”failed”??!!!… Your welcome for the town you call home.

    Yours truly, Forestry sector worker!!

  15. Don Patrick says:

    If the project is good for the general population of BC the Provincial Gov’t will move the location out of the DOS and then their will no local benefits…some people are just self-serving manipulated idiots.

  16. Larry McLnnan says:

    I wonder if the predominantly anti-LNG council will now feel compelled to issue a statement opposing WLNG ? I would believe that their anti-LNG supporters would expect that. Also- what is Peter Kent going to use to set himself on fire -solar panels ?

  17. Jason says:

    How many people commenting on here commute to Vancouver on a daily basis? Our cars are likely the most significant polluters in the corridor, significantly greater than that tiny LNG plant. The most vocal opponents of the development have no clue what their environmental footprint is….same old same old from the uneducated masses.

    • MattB says:

      Well, let’s figure it out. The math is relatively simple.

      According to the US EPA a gallon of gas (US) produces 8,887 grams of CO2. Assuming your car gets 30 miles per gallon (hwy) and you drive 20,000 kilometers per year, you would use 417 gallons of gas/year which is 3,700 kilograms/year.

      Now this is where it gets interesting. What figure do you use for annual CO2 output for WLNG? They claim they will produce 80,000 tons per year but that is only in the processing of the LNG at the plant site itself and does not include cooling (since electricity will be used), upstream or transmission CO2 output. Using the 80,000 ton plant only figure, I calculate that it would take 21,622 cars driving 20,000 kilometers per year to produce 80,000 tons of CO2. So even at the plant only estimate, which is a small percentage of total CO2 produced from wellhead to waterline, WLNG will produce more CO2 than if every man, woman and child in Squamish plus some from the surrounding area drove their cars 20,000 kms per year (or 100km/day, 200 days per year).

      However, according to Globe Advisors, which prepared a report for the BC govt entitled British Columbia LNG Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Life Cycle Analysis (see http://goo.gl/zSOr3I) total CO2 produced by 1 ton of LNG from wellhead to final use by the customer assuming the most efficient LNG production scenario, is 2.95 tons (see page iv of the Globe Advisors report). Assuming total LNG production per year is 1.6 million tons of LNG, that would be the CO2 output produced by 433,432 cars driving 20,000 km/year.

  18. MattB says:

    Actually, the last number of 432,432 cars per years in incorrect. I forgot to multiply 1.6 million tons times 2.95 (t0tal CO2 output per ton of LNG).

    The correct answer is that it would take 1,275,676 cars driving 20,000 kms/year to produce the amount of CO2 produced by the drilling, transmission, converting to LNG, shipping and burning 1.6 million tons of LNG!

  19. Ellison Hawthorne says:

    Voicing opinion is good, however…

    when the anti-industry verbiage, direct action campaign language appears in media than it gets sadly tilted. Question to Kati Palenthorpe, is she German or Canadian? Because if you look at the “green’s” in Germany they barely make 10% in the national election. Why, because they are now in coalition with the former East German communists. The greens in Germany also are tolerated, as a protest vote. Not more not less. Last election, if one reads foreign press, they suggested to eat less meat. This didn’t get down too well with the German wurst und schnitzel eaters. So what has Germany produced? Good cars, highways, but it also has produced two radical ideologies. First, communism and second, national socialism; Second, the greenies are strongest in where? Germany. Now the first two ideologies failed miserably so why are we keep on trying to follow the Germans political extremism? Doesn’t make sense and sorry to say, doesn’t sound logic. Maybe the Squamish reporter might interview more unbiased and balanced. These claims get a bit old.

    Second, human rights and environmental record. Good point. whats the evidence?

    Third, subsidies. Why? Subsidizing is a German, socialist type of narrative. It increases the tax burden on the citizens, and is against free markets, decreases market profits just to name a few issues. We can see the failures of socialist subsidies all over the planet miserably failing. Like Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, and so forth. Why does the government and/or the private sector need to sponsor the renewable sector. If the renewable sector is able to compete let the market supply and demand guide the renewable sector. Its called competition.

    Forth, If Judith Vetsch does not want to take a stance, that is her democratic choice. I am so sick and tired of the pressure tactics applied. This witch-hunting against anyone who doesn’t share the eco-narrative is un-Canadian, undemocratic and reflective of the new radicals.

    Fifth, the comment: “Originally from Germany, Palethorpe said her visits back home are a reminder of the commitment that country has for alternative energy with investments in solar and windmills.”. – Ok, noted. I recommend if Canada is such a bad place, a return to the roots is available. It is after all a choice, and a democratic option available.