Robert Barron Citizen
The board of the Cowichan Valley Regional District wants no part of the $37.5-million proposal to build a liquefied natural gas facility in Mill Bay.
In fact, the regional district’s directors voted unanimously Wednesday night to oppose LNG projects anywhere in the regional district.
Lori Lannidinardo, the director for Cowichan Bay, introduced the motion at the CVRD’s regular board meeting.
She said there has been a “lot of chatter” on social media regarding plans by the Malahat Nation and Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG to develop an LNG facility at the Bamberton site south of Mill Bay.
The two organizations entered into a partnership in August to develop the site, which would be known as Malahat LNG.
The proposed facility would have an expected capacity of up to six-million tonnes per year, and would include floating liquefaction facilities moored to the shoreline and minor supporting land-based infrastructure.
Between construction, operation and decommissioning, it could provide up to 30 years of revenue generation for local, provincial and federal governments, as well as up to 200 long-term positions and training and employment opportunities for members of the Malahat First Nation and other Island residents.
But the CVRD’s directors decided that the benefits don’t outweigh the potential pitfalls of the project to the environment, as well as to the local coastline if there is a spill or a fire.
“There are so many issues related to this proposal that I felt that we, as a board, should take a stand on it,” Lannindinardo said.
Shawnigan Lake director Sonia Furstenau said the proposed LNG project would increase the impacts of climate change.
“We’re very concerned about climate change and we’re always looking for ways to reduce it,” she said.
“We should make it clear that the Cowichan Valley, or anywhere else in B.C. For that matter, is not the place for this kind of project.”
Ladysmith director Aaron Stone said it’s often too easy to sit on the sidelines and enter into conversations regarding important issues to the region too late.
“I think we need to get into this conversation right now,” he said.
The Malahat LNG project still has to go through a number of lengthy regulatory processes before a final decision is made on whether it can proceed.
It’s unknown at this time what impacts, if any, the CVRD’s motion against the project will have on that decision-making process.