Survey shows majority of municipal candidates don’t support Woodfibre LNG plant

LNG tanker (Wiki Commons), and Howe Sound from the Chief by Herb Johnson

Ninety-eight municipal election candidates from Squamish, West Vancouver, Bowen Island, Gibsons, Lions Bay and Whistler were emailed and phoned regarding their thoughts on the controversial Woodfibre LNG plant proposed for Howe Sound.

The plant plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal approximately seven kilometres southwest of Squamish.

Only 31 candidates (of the known 88 still in the election race) filled out the two-question survey by non-profit organization Propeller Strategy Society. Ninety-four per cent (29 out of 31) said they did not support the Woodfibre LNG plant moving forward. The two in favour were from Squamish.

A director of Propeller Strategy Stan Proboszcz said he was surprised at the lack of responsiveness from the candidates after attempting to contact some them up to three times.

“Woodfibre LNG is one of the biggest election issues in the region, yet it seems some candidates aren’t eager to provide a straight-up yes or no answer about whether they support it or not,” said Proboszcz in a press release.

The most common reasons cited by candidates for not supporting the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant ranked in order are:

  1. environmental risks;
  2. economic risks;
  3. human safety concerns; and,
  4. navigational hazards of tankers (see bar graph below). Of the two Squamish candidates that stated they support the project, one cited economic benefits as a rationale for his support; the other said he is unaware of any known aspects of the project that would negatively impact the community.

Photo from Propeller Strategy Society

Photo from Propeller Strategy Society

“Citizens all around Howe Sound and beyond care about this issue—to date over 650 have signed our declaration to protect Howe Sound in light of the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant,” said Proboszcz. “Citizens deserve to have clearly stated positions from all candidates before the election, and uncertainty should not be used as a tool to evade a yes or no answer.”

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