For a second time, FortisBC is looking at moving the location of a key compressor station for the natural gas pipeline that will serve the Woodfibre LNG terminal.
The proposed Eagle Mountain - Woodfibre Gas Pipeline Project is a 47-kilometre expansion of existing FortisBC infrastructure that has served Squamish, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island since 1990.
The new project received regulatory approval in summer 2016.
The compressor station was initially slated for the Squamish business park, but opposition from residents and the Squamish Nation during the environmental assessment process led FortisBC to select the location near the base of Mount Mulligan, about 10 kilometres outside Squamish.
It’s about 1.8 kilometres from residences in the Valleycliffe area, and received opposition from residents and representatives with the Squamish-based environmental activist group My Sea to Sky.
Noise, proximity to drinking water sources, greenhouse gas emissions and other safety concerns were cited as issues with the location.
FortisBC confirmed Monday that it is now considering moving the natural gas-fired compressor station from Mount Mulligan to the Woodfibre LNG site across Howe Sound.
“In response to feedback from the community, we are evaluating the possibility of locating the new Squamish compressor station at or near the Woodfibre site,” Vanessa Connolly, senior manager of external relations with FortisBC, told The Chief.
“We are currently carrying out a feasibility assessment. If a new location is chosen, we would follow all necessary regulatory processes.”
Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott said the district is in talks with both Woodfibre LNG and FortisBC as plans for the facility progress.
“We have been informed that FortisBC is looking at whether or not a site on or near the Woodfibre LNG site may be suitable for a compressor station, and expect more information in the fall once they complete their due diligence,” she said in an email to The Chief.
My Sea to Sky’s Tracey Saxby said the move to relocate the planned facility is a step in the right direction.
“We appreciate that FortisBC has taken our safety concerns about the location of the compressor station on Mount Mulligan seriously,” she said.
“This is also an opportunity for FortisBC to do the right thing and use electricity to power the compressor station, which means less local air pollution.”
Saxby added that the group would like more information about the relocation to Woodfibre, in particular about the safety of placing the facility so close to the liquefaction plant and floating LNG storage units.
The Chief reached out to the Squamish Nation, but did not receive an immediate reply.
— JWN and Squamish Chief