Woodfibre found in noncompliance, ordered to deploy 'floatel' for Squamish LNG project

Environmental regulator found 300 workers living in 'unauthorized locations', given four days to move to floatel

Woodfibre found in noncompliance, ordered to deploy 'floatel' for Squamish LNG project

The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has mandated that Woodfibre LNG relocate a converted cruise ship, intended to house workers, to a designated site in Howe Sound, near Squamish, B.C., the Canadian Press (CP) reported Monday.

The floatel will remain moored in the Sound until 2027 when the project will completed, according to Woodfibre. It will house 650 non-local workers throughout the construction of the Woodfibre LNG project.

“In 2019, Woodfibre began the process of gathering input from the community about the potential impact of the construction project and development of an LNG facility,” the statement from Woodfibre reads.

“We received thousands of comments, many registering concerns about traditional work camps, the potential influx of non-local workers, and potential impacts on rental housing, traffic and the safety of women and girls. We listened, we heard, and we responded with a community-driven solution in the form of a floatel.”

The local Squamish District council rejected Woodfibre’s first permit application for the floatel, The Squamish Chief reports. It is now with District staff who will report to council at Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting.

Woodfibre workers already in non-compliance

According to the EAO, all workers who did not reside in Squamish District before September 20, 2023 are mandated to reside on the floatel. An inspection on June 10 showed that approximately 350 workers were already housed in “unauthorized locations”, and the EAO has issued an order for those workers to be relocated to the floatel by June 21 – four days’ notice.

Currently about 300 workers are being housed at a construction camp in Port Mellon, and there are 30 workers staying at a local hotel in Squamish, the Chief reports.

Woodfibre LNG, a key player in the liquefied natural gas sector, has been mooring the floatel off the coast of Nanaimo.

Move by regulator angers local activists

Local environmental advocacy group My Sea to Sky, which has opposed the LNG project for a decade, CP reports, issued a statement about the development.

"Instead of waiting till all the required permits and approvals were in place, Woodfibre LNG knowingly broke the conditions of its Environmental Assessment Certificate by unlawfully housing hundreds of workers in our communities," My Sea to Sky executive director and co-founder Tracey Saxby said in an emailed statement to the Chief.

"This demonstrates, yet again, that Woodfibre LNG cannot be trusted to do the right thing and is willing to put our communities at risk to enable its unrealistic construction timelines."

Saxby called for a “pause” to construction until all the necessary permits are approved.

In a prior meeting, Squamish District council voted three-to-four against granting a one-year permit for the floatel, CP reported. Concerns cited by councillors included the safety of women and girls, traffic congestion, waste management and potential natural hazards.

The council has directed staff to collaborate with Woodfibre LNG on increasing the security deposit for the floatel to $10 million to address these concerns.

Recent articles & video

Employer must pay $40,000 to nurse fired after workplace assault

Ottawa launches Employment Strategy for Canadians with Disabilities

What’s the most overworked province in Canada?

SHRM removes ‘equity’ from DEI program ‘to address flaws’

Most Read Articles

$500-million severance lawsuit against Musk dismissed: reports

In midst of LCBO strike, Ontario premier maps out places selling alcohol

SHRM removes ‘equity’ from DEI program ‘to address flaws’