Squamish First Nation approves economic benefits on former Woodfibre pulp site
By P&PC Staff
By P&PC Staff
November 30, 2018 – Woodfibre LNG, a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) project on the site of a former pulp mill seven kilometres south of Squamish, British Columbia, has had economic benefit agreements worth up to $1.8 billion approved by the Squamish First Nation.
The Canadian Press reports that the approval was “a difficult decision,” according to Squamish councillor Khelsilem, at eight votes to six, but that the Squamish First Nation could receive cash and contract benefits of nearly $1.1 billion.
The project is on the site of a former NBSK pulp mill once owned by Western Forest Products, which sold it to Woodfibre LNG, a privately held company, in 2013.
Woodfibre LNG is licensed to export around 2.1 million tonnes of LNG annually over the next 40 years.
The Squamish First Nation conducted its own environmental assessment before the approval, which included annual and milestone payments of about $226 million, cash for job opportunities, nine parcels of land for housing, and a cultural fund.
Khelsilem says the First Nation still needs to work with Woodfibre LNG on several business management plans to ensure environmental protection before the project can go ahead. He also notes that the First Nation will be “holding the proponents accountable” throughout the lifecycle of the project, from building to its eventual decommissioning.