Life is Good Here Without LNG

By Les MacDonald
Published: March 30, 2015

This is an interactive article.

Step 1: Take yourself down to your favourite spot to view Howe Sound.

Step 2: Get comfortable, breathe, and relax. Amazing, right?

Step 3: Read.

Howe Sound is incredible. The power of North America’s southernmost Fjord, lies in all of the unique communities on its shores, and the vibrant people that account for it. YOU are a part of this story.

But this is all threatened by a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal called Woodfibre LNG (WFLNG).

JOBS. Don’t let the name fool you. The old labour intensive Pulp Mill employed an entire community of 750 residents; the new WFLNG Export terminal may only employ a handful of local residents. According to WFLNG’s Environmental Assessment Application, only 38.5 jobs out of 895 jobs will be for Squamish locals during the two-year construction period (Table 6.2-8). The remaining jobs are going to folks in Vancouver, other areas of BC or Canada, and overseas. While these jobs are temporary, the terminal and the effects it will have on Howe Sound will be permanent. For a community of almost 20,000 it isn’t worth the trade-off for 38.5 jobs for two years.

TAXES. WFLNG has proposed $2 million in property taxes, which constitute only 4% of our total revenues. In reality, any operation on the site would add to the municipal taxes, many of which would have a vastly improved net benefit due to more jobs and less damaging impact. Provincially, we are practically giving our resources away at the expense of our ecological and cultural integrity for  3.5% tax after the capital expenses have been written off.

The SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS of WFLNG could be devastating. So much so that very little is written about it in the WFLNG EA Application. According to a report released by the David Suzuki Foundation, Howe Sound’s watersheds at risk provide up to $4.7 billion in natural services to the region each year ( We need to have a much larger conversation around how this LNG export terminal will affect our current economy, lifestyle, and how we want the world to see us.

FOOTPRINT. WFLNG promised a small environmental footprint with little LNG tanker traffic. As each day passes that footprint gets bigger and bigger. The pipeline and compressor station proposed by Fortis to feed WFLNG is 6 times larger than needed and corporations don’t overbuild without a long term plan. It’s like that friend who says he needs to crash on your couch for a few days but eventually ends up moving in.

COOLING. The primitive cooling system for WFLNG is not World Class, it is the easiest and cheapest method. Salt Water/Once Through Cooling systems are banned in the State of California. WFLNG’s cooling system will suck 17,000 tonnes an hour (7 Olympic-sized 50 metre pools) of living sea water through pipes, heat it, chlorinate it, and spit it back into the ocean devoid of life. These cooling systems kill billions of fish eggs, larvae, and any other marine life that gets sucked in.

SAFETY. In the event of a chemical fire like the recent event in Vancouver, an LNG fire or leak, what is the emergency response plan and time? There isn’t one right now because it’s a very difficult situation with the terminal off shore. Since the wind from Woodfibre usually blows into Squamish, we need to be concerned.

DUE PROCESS. WFLNG are following the guidelines and rules set before them by the Government and the EA Process. This may make you feel safe but the old Pulp mill and Chemical Plant followed government guidelines and destroyed Howe Sound. It’s taken decades and millions in clean-up efforts and we’re only recently seeing herring numbers rebound, and the whales have followed after a 50 year absence from Howe Sound.

 Repeat step 2.

Get involved with organizations like My Sea To Sky where you will be a part of a PROACTIVE community of THOUSANDS of individuals who are making a difference.

WFLNG doesn’t fit Squamish, our vision of ourselves, Howe Sound, or any of the communities on its waters. There has never been a better time to live here and we have the opportunity to make this an even better place for now, and for generations to come.




  1. Jean says:

    Under no circumstance should an administrative body like EA be allowed to make a scientific assessment of a highly scientific matter like LNG without any competent and accredited scientists on staff within the EA organization, knowledgeable in the LNG Science and especially in the risk assessment of floating LNG storage in open water, exposed directly to prevailing winds and within a potential earthquake zone, with a forecast of a big earthquake, within the next 200 years to occur and so closed to over 15,000 inhabitants.
    Under the pretend of helping China to stop polluting with coal, encouraging money hungry energy companies, to do there polluting for the Chinese up in our country and with no scruple, then sell it for an envisioned profit that will never occur, to who ever would buy it, for a short time if any, wile the Chinese and many progressive other nations instead, are heavily investing in green energy and one day with us, when all are stopping to buy the Canadian Methane gas to be sold as LNG, or are forbidding to use it even, driving our economy down and us then, importing and buying there advanced non fossil type polluting energy. A government so short sighted not to realize that we are once again repeating the mistakes of the past as in .. Thumbler Ridge fiasco.. and spending our tax money to brainwash young people, how save the LNG is and how profitable and how much royalty we will get without any believable figures and by independent scientists and business analysts totally in disagreement, with there advertised BS submissions.
    It should be on this alone that this whole process should be stopped immediately, suspended without any further continuation of the EA process, until credible reports would be received, to then make an informed decision.
    FortisBC also being responsible in what appears as a partner with W-LNG, responsible also, by promoting a less costly, less save route, to please W-LNG, with the supplying of Gas, by proposing to install the 24 inch pipeline right trough populated Squamish, filled with highly flammable Explosive Compressed Methane Gas ( Mainly Fracked Methane Gas).
    EA should also consider the social economic impact by this, as to protect the investment of many businesses here now and with potential future employers not anticipated to move to Squamish into the Business park, where at present the Compressor station is planed.
    The Gas Line Institute furthermore having recommended, that any new gas line of the size proposed by FortisBC, should be not closer then 660 ft from populated area and this throughout Squamish, putting FortisBC in default, as it was brought up on the many meetings held throughout.
    FortisBC furthermore neglecting the domestic supply of Household Gas at reasonable price and not providing transportation CNG in the corridor, is an other issue that is unforgivable to just trying to look out for the big corporation in business, to exploiting our natural resources and with it, not even looking after the Citizens of Canada and there future needs, in need of this national treasure, that could be harvested in lesser amount but with little devastation, if used just for Canadian consumption to benefit households and Potential industries here, that might want to set up shop here, with low energy cost agreements, as it should be shared first with the inhabitants of Canada and not expanded to further endanger the native indigenous people of Canada, for the profit of possible not even Canadian shareholders of a company now proposing the projects.
    Absolutely no storage of LNG on floating worn out dilapidated ships not seaworthy any more, with no authority to report to, should ever be permitted. Instead of, on land secured by berms that would retain any leakage and providing more tax $ for Squamish , would be the only option to be considered, should this atrocity ever be forced upon the people of Squamish!!!!
    FortisBC having already mapped the Gas line route over the mountain south of us, rather then through Squamish, this would be again the only acceptable route for Squamish residents, should it ever be approved over the wishes of the majority of Squamish people and the Native inhabitants also firmly disapproving it.

  2. tjay says:

    True, and life would be even better…..with LNG.

  3. Eric Andersen says:

    1. Mr. McDonald, these following statements are simply campaign hyperbole – too far from the facts or unsubstantiated:

    “But this is all threatened by … Woodfibre LNG … In reality, any operation on the site would add to the municipal taxes, many of which would have a vastly improved net benefit due to more jobs and less damaging impact. Provincially, we are practically giving our resources away at the expense of our ecological and cultural integrity … The SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS of WFLNG could be devastating. … Howe Sound’s watersheds at risk … The pipeline and compressor station proposed by Fortis to feed WFLNG is 6 times larger than needed … spit it back into the ocean devoid of life. These cooling systems kill billions of fish eggs, larvae, and any other marine life that gets sucked in. … the old Pulp mill and Chemical Plant followed government guidelines and destroyed Howe Sound.”

    2. “JOBS. …”
    You don’t address post-construction employment – a significant number of high-skill, high-wage jobs. There are currently a few thousand working age people in Squamish commuting long distance to work. Many if not most would prefer not to. The Smart Growth principles adopted by the District of Squamish ten years ago include: “Complete Community” and “Good Jobs are Close to Home”.

    3. “TAXES. …”
    $2 million in revenues, with no significant expenditures – a significant fact not mentioned. Woodfibre does not require infrastructure and services from the District of Squamish.

    The David Suzuki Foundation report does not discuss or claim to discuss socio-economic impacts. It discusses ecosystem services. For example, the report makes no mention poof the value of the commercial transportation functions of Howe Sound.

    5. “FOOTPRINT. …”
    This far-fetched. Simply not a credible accusation.

    6. “SAFETY. …”
    Has this topic not been thoroughly reviewed by the District’s LNG Committee?

    7. “DUE PROCESS. …”
    There are indications that marine life is recovering throughout the Straight of Georgia – not just in Howe Sound. The pressures on aquatic ecosystems have been various, and so have been the improvement measures: reduced harvest pressure; better freshwater fisheries habitat protection; habitat restoration; alleviation of point source pollution sources (e.g., Britannia and Tsolum River mine sites); air and water emission controls at pulp mills and other industrial facilities (for example at Woodfibre which, after environmental upgrades in the 1980s, was among cleanest operating pulp mills on the coast).

    As for herring spawning activity recovery at the head of Howe Sound, this has been brought about by a partnership with Industry – Squamish Streamkeepers working with Squamish Terminals Ltd. to create a successful artificial spawning habitat under a large deep sea shipping dock.

    8. “… our current economy, lifestyle, and how we want the world to see us. … WFLNG doesn’t fit Squamish, our vision of ourselves …”

    In my small town Squamish modest upbringing I was taught that such use of “our”, “us”, “ourselves”, “Squamish” should be considered presumptuous – arrogant.

    • Adam Coswell says:

      Actually Jean pretty much hits Point #1 right on the bullseye. Hardly hyperbole, it just happens to be very shocking that they would propose such a plan. If they can do it right (air cooling is mentioned as an option) then they should be held to the highest standard, not just what is best for business.

      #2 Jobs. You don’t really contradict her point. Yes a few short term construction jobs, but the bulk of complex construction will be done elsewhere and shipped in. At least try to get it right when you critique.

      #3 Are you oblivious, or just pretending to be. You don’t think that the LNG will draw heavily on our social and state services, hospitals, roads, infrastructure etc. You don’t think that the short (temporary) influx of young male workers that come to slap the plant together and spend their nights drinking and ripping around town doesn’t represent an expenditure as we have our town turned inside out for unruly construction guests for a few months or year. Only the liquor stores will win. WIthout stereotyping, because the majority of young workers are decent people, the literature demonstrating the disruptive influence of short term boom-bust projects on local services and community harmony is almost endless. You want to talk about the whole picture, then you better cast the net a bit wider.

      Eric, we all know your family made their dollars at the old mill. A lot of our families did, but since that era we have all worked hard to forge a new future. It is too bad that some of us are not willing to work toward a better future for Howe Sound, and can only think of the simplest easiest big-business route to creating work. Let’s not pretend to be oblivious to the positive growth that has occured over the past decade, and lets not pretend that Woodfiber presents a threat to all we have accomplished in a manner unlike any other proposal we have seen in a long long time. There is only a painfully narrow view that can justify this project without radical and far-reaching modifications. It’s not impossible to reconcile the goals of Woodfiber LNG with Howe Sound, but you horribly distort things when you pretend to claim that the current proposal is good enough. Those of us, the vast vast majority, that do not work in a mill or stand to have one of the 38 or 39 jobs that are created there, demand that this project be done in a way that doesn’t sell out our future for a quick buck, just so a few folks can relive their glory days when industry came first and everything else came second.

      • Craig D. McConnell says:

        Adam & Eric,
        Good oberservations on both your parts, as I am assuming that both of you have a long history of witnessing the socio-economic and environmental “ebb & flow” of Squamish for at least a few decades. Historical observations provide an objective point from which to start the discuss of “then & now.” Are the natural resources (energy, minerals, fisheries) and tourism industries of BC becoming more efficient and effective in their inputs of energy utility and human resources than 10 or 20 years ago? Is there more broader based collaboration in these economic activities and the acceptance to participate on innovation for constant environmental impact improvements? Your community probably wants to hear more from both of your perspectives, particularly if you offer a constructive path forward, all options considered.

        Craig D. McConnell
        Geoscience Analysis Technology & Enviro-Guard Technology

  4. Larry McLennan says:

    Eric-Eric-Eric- Do you not realize that you are debating a religeous dogma with the anti-this -that or whatever crowd? You can deny ,with verifiable integrity and facts , all their emotional assertions but they won’t listen- and Jean- congratulations- at least you spelled BS and EA correctly.
    I suppose Eric, by posting actual facts in support of ,in this case ,WLNG, at least third parties will be able to discern relevant fact from fiction. Today’s(April 01) Province paper , by the way, has an informative article by Patrick Moore regarding CO2 and its effect on the environment. I’m guessing Mr. MacDonald and Jean will skip reading it.

    • Adam Coswell says:

      Patrick Moore? You mean the guy that sold out to work for Monsanto? The same one that says glyphosate is safe to drink and then ran away when offered a cup? This must be some of his older material, when he sold out to work for various international logging companies and produce propoganda about endless trees. Look around, we see the lies of Patrick Moore everywhere.

      • Larry McLennan says:

        I suppose the “monsanto” comment is relatingto the rice that Monsanto developed which is helping to save childrens’ lives in the third world. That’s some sell out. When I look around Squamish I see mountain sides covered with trees- what do you see ? A green desert??

  5. Larry McLennan says:

    whoops- religious- hit the wrong key

  6. MKnight says:

    I think a far bigger threat to Howe Sound is the methane produced from the bloviations of relentless self promoting gasbags like Mr. McDonald and the minority that he thinks is representative of the community at large. He sounds like one of those Jehovah’s Witnesses who predicted the end of humanity sometime in 1974. He should have a sit down with them and maybe exchange notes on how to get more people to buy in to one’s paranoid doomsday fantasies withoit sounding completely unhinged.

    • tjay says:

      MKnight, your so-called ‘facts’ about what SOME ‘professed’ JW’s actually said, when it was said, and the predicting the ‘end of humanity’ (now REALLY laughable, good try though) as you call it is hilarious. Get your facts straight before you spout off, so you don’t come across as a misguided liar….
      Also, the correlation with LNG and ‘them’ a little weird, but you have an ‘agenda’ don’t you ?

      • MKnight says:

        I quote: “The published timetable resulting from this independent study gives the date of man’s creation as 4026 B.C.E. According to this trustworthy Bible chronologysix thousand years from man’s creation will end in 1975.” – Watchtower, 1966. Ok my bad, 1975, not 1974. And we did get disco that year, so they weren’t entirely wrong. Anyway, before you accuse people of being liars you might want to check your own facts, eh? And the point of this is not to accuse JWs of being bad people, because they are in fact the nicest people you’ll ever meet, but rather that human beings have a propensity for prognosticating doom that is pretty much always off the mark. WLNG will get built and then Ms. Saxby and Mr. McDonald and the rest of the chicken little clan can film music videos about the dangers of pocket lint or whatever other cause keeps them in the public eye.