Letter from Council | WoodfibreLNG Project Floatel

ha7lh skwáyel (good day),

We wanted to inform you of an update concerning the WoodfibreLNG Project, specifically concerning the Floatel, which was proposed to house the non-local project workers.

As background, the WoodfibreLNG Project was approved by the Province of BC and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw in 2015 allowing all workers to reside in the Sea to Sky Corridor. In 2019, WoodfibreLNG proposed an amendment to these approvals to instead dock a Floatel at the Project Site for the duration of construction (approx. four years). The Floatel (a converted cruise ship) was proposed to house the non-local workforce (up to max 650 workers at peak construction) to mitigate impacts to Indigenous women, girls and two spirit people, and avoid impacts on local housing, traffic, medical services, and recreational use.

However, as you may have heard, the District of Squamish council voted against issuing a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) for the Floatel, sending the issue back to District staff to review. WoodfibreLNG has sourced accommodation elsewhere for its hundreds of non-local workers while the District of Squamish review is underway.

That has put WoodfibreLNG in non-compliance with the EAO (Environmental Assessment Office) of the BC government. The EAO issued an Order to WoodfibreLNG on June 17, 2024, requiring them to relocate all non-local workers onto the Floatel and dock at Swiy̓at by Friday, June 21, 2024.

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw has also issued a letter to WoodfibreLNG reiterating the need for non-local workers to be housed on the Floatel moored at Swiy̓at to maintain compliance with the SNEAA (Squamish Nation Environmental Assessment Agreement) and the associated amending agreement for the Floatel.

The decision by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw to approve the Floatel came after a rigorous four-year review process with the EAO. The two regulatory bodies worked collaboratively to identify appropriate conditions of approval within each independent process.

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw’s conditions of Floatel approval focused on environmental, cultural and social priorities, with particular emphasis on safety for Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit individuals. These legally binding conditions include:

  • Cultural Awareness Programming (mandatory for all workers) to raise awareness of linkages between camps and safety of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, as well as Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw culture, governance, and history.
  • An Indigenous Floatel Cultural Manager to reside at the Floatel and create a safe and supportive work culture, especially for Indigenous workers.
  • The prohibition on discharge of any sewage, grey water, domestic waste, or garbage into Howe Sound, with the associated waste disposal plan requiring pre-approval by the Nation.
  • Restrictions on access to the backcountry around Swiy̓at by Floatel residents.

chet kw’enmantúmiyap (we thank you all),

Syexwáliya, Ann Whonnock and Sxwíxwtn, Wilson Williams
Council Spokespersons