600 people come out to hear seven panelists, from both sides of the Malahat LNG project
Hundreds of people jammed into Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre last night.
They spent three hours listening and learning more about the proposed Malahat LNG project.
The seven member panel spoke in favour of the plan, and against, including Tsartlip Chief Don Tom.
“We will not subject our community, nor your community, to the risks and dangers that this will bring.”
The majority of the 600 members of the public voice their opposition to the proposed Malahat LNG plant.
But they also hear from the proponents, such as Dr. Robin Pitblado from DMV Energy.
“The LNG industry has a very good record, much better than the refining industry.
Much better than the petrochemical industry.”
The debate focuses on the Saanich Inlet.
And a proposed floating LNG facility to be built at the Bamberton lands owned by the Malahat First Nation.
Outspoken critic, retired scientist Dr. Eoin Finn, speaks early in the evening.
“Mayor and council, thank-you for coming.
It’s no secret, I’m not a fan of this proposal.”
Finn quotes a 2009 American study highlighting the risks to the public.
“You really shouldn’t put an LNG plant within three and a half kilometres of people.
But the sparks fly shortly after when the provincial government’s LNG advocate gets up to speak.
“What you are hearing from Eoin Finn is frankly, not even good science fiction.
We have got to have an intelligent dialogue on this issue.”
Despite three hours of discussion, few members of the public change their minds.
“I came out tonight because I thought that I would get some real information.”
“It just sounds like a very crazy idea.
I don’t think they are going to go through with it now.”
“I’m not concerned about the shipping aspect, but it’s not the appropriate place for a massive industrial plant.”
For Malahat First Nation Councillor Matt Harry, the night is an eye-opener.
“It’s very important for me to hear it and see it.
Also, see how many people are really opposed to this project.”
The next step for the project is an environmental study.
But that may be months, if not years, away.