By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 19, 2014
The geniality of our mayor is at times inversely proportional to the number of people present in the council chamber.
The more people fill up the chamber to protest something, less affable the Mayor tends to get.
“We ask that you gauge public opinion in an open, fair and inclusive process.” Renee Kranz
The carnivalesque protest met the humourless state once again in the Squamish council chamber on Tuesday, July 15.
With only 27 people allowed in the chamber due to fire code restrictions, anti-LNG protesters filled the lobby while activists spoke about their concerns.
“I feel that Woodfibre LNG is the wrong direction for our beautiful town and our beautiful province” said Renee Kranz, the co-founder of My Sea to Sky.
“We ask that you gauge public opinion in an open, fair and inclusive process.”
Tracey Saxby, the most visible face of anti-LNG protest, said the general public feels it has been kept in the dark as meetings between the proponents, the province and the district are happening behind closed doors.
She said the public process on environmentalists review has become a sham. [manual_related_posts]
“Instead of being able to comment on the draft AIR which is standard procedure, the general public has access to a less detailed document. Meanwhile the district staff is responding to the proponent’s draft AIR as part of the working group, however this is not available to the public.”
She asked that council should make makes DOS response to the draft AIR public.
Sean Lumb, another anti-LNG, said, the tax agreement for LNG is capped at $2 million dollars and increasing it to 2.5 per cent.
“Why is this rate so low, it’s what Woodfibre paid in 2005 at the close of its operation and it’s nearly 10 years,” he said.
Lumb asked that council demand an economic impact study be also included by the proponent.
“We demand that district not finalize any negotiations with the municipal tax rate until the full scope of the proposal is known,” he said.
Heintzman grills staff
Coun. Patricia Heintzman was in a mood to ask tough questions and extract information, but there was little coming from CAO Corien Speaker.
Heintzman: ‘There was a request that we make public the draft AIR district responses, is that possible?’
Speaker: ‘I can’t provide a response to that at this moment, I will have to look into it.’
Heintzman: I will have to look into it because there is…
Speaker: ‘I don’t have enough information to respond’
Heintzman: Is the committee looking at how this might affect our carbon emission goals? Is the committee looking at those?
Speaker: ‘I can’t say…’
Heintzman said besides tax revenue, there is very little upside to the LNG project.
“I think what the community is really craving on all sides of the debate, they crave a public forum to be able to communicate these things with us, with themselves, get more information,” she said.
She said the LNG issue could be something that can be considered as a referendum question.
“In the coming elections, it would be a non-binding, but just like the Enbridge pipeline question, it would at least gauge public opinion.”