Town hall meeting in Sidney took place at Mary Winspear Centre
There was a packed house at a public meeting on the proposed Malahat LNG project in Sidney tonight.
An estimated 600 people attended the 3 hour information session at the Mary Winspear Center.
The event was hosted by the municipality of North Saanich and featured seven speakers, both for and against the project.
Audience members were invited to submit questions in writing including to company representatives from Steelhead LNG.
It’s proposing to build a floating LNG facility in partnership with the Malahat First Nation.
“I was always against it and now I’ve got even more reasons, ” said one audience member.
“It sounds like a very crazy idea.”
“Nobody has any real answers at all,” said another.
The Saanich Inlet, a busy waterway.
Also, a critical link between the Malahat and the Saanich Peninsula.
It’s here where Steelhead LNG is proposing to build a floating liquified natural gas facility in partnership with the Malahat First Nation.
Councillor Matt Harry says there is much misinformation about the project.
“I know there’s not a lot of support in the inlet itself, because they say we are going to ruin the inlet.
But we’re not about that.
We’ve been here for thousands of years, and we’re not about to do that.”
The project is a lightning rod for protests, including from first nations across the inlet.
But for first time Malahat First Nations councillors, Matt and George Harry know what they are up against.
“We’re starting all new fresh, we are making sure we can get out there and talk to the other nations.
That wasn’t happening to begin with because a lot of people were already opposed to it.
But I feel that it was just the way it was presented.”
On the other side of the Inlet in Central Saanich, the Tsartlip First Nation’s Chief Don Tom remains opposed to the project.
“We are opposed to the underwater pipelines.
We are opposed to the tanker traffic.
We are opposed to the floating LNG facility.
So, I don’t want any words to be minced on maybe we are not happy with their approach, and that’s the only thing we’re opposed to.
A conceptual draft shows the scope of the project with floating terminal and land facilities.
The company’s project manager, Nathan Gloag, believes there is enough interest to proceed.
“We encourage and welcome the public to engage with us and talk with us about their concerns or support for the project.”
Any LNG facility here is years away from shovels in the ground, with numerous studies to be completed.
And opponents say they will fight it every step of the way.