A Ucluelet resident discusses environmental risks with a representative from Steelhead LNG at community information session in Ucluelet on Nov. 26. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

A Ucluelet resident discusses environmental risks with a representative from Steelhead LNG at community information session in Ucluelet on Nov. 26. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

‘It’s a terrible idea’: West Coast residents react to massive LNG project proposal in Barkley Sound

Kwispaa LNG formally enters into the environmental assessment phase.

Longtime West Coast resident Jim Whitworth, 74, said attending the Kwispaa LNG open house on Nov. 26 at the Ucluelet Community Centre was like ‘walking into a room full of used car salesmen’.

He said the open house left him frustrated, and reaffirmed all his inklings of concern about the proposed natural gas liquefaction and export facility located in the Barkley Sound he already knew.

“It’s all about money,” Mr. Whitworth said.

“It’s the wrong way to go. What’s wrong with solar? What’s wrong with geothermal? What’s wrong with all of these things? It’s insanity. We’re going 100 per cent the wrong way. We only have one world.”

A partnership between Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG and the Bamfield-area Huu-ay-aht First Nation, Kwispaa is a 25-year, $10 billion project proposed for Sarita Bay at the southwest edge of Barkley Sound. It will process liquified natural gas piped from the mainland, then ship it to overseas markets.

Jason Sam and Johanne Goulet attended the open house as concerned residents of Ucluelet.

“[Steelhead] is a privatized company and they are clearly just using the land and the people,” said Goulet. “We asked what they were going to do with the byproducts and they couldn’t answer those questions.”

“I think it’s a terrible idea,” said Sam. “It’s going away from renewable energies and investment completely into polluting energy for at least two to three decades. Plus, the amount of tanker traffic that is going to be going through there is crazy.”

Sam, a member of Ahousaht First Nation, went on to say he thought it was strange the LNG company was only partnering with Huu-ay-aht as Sarita Bay is the traditional territory of 14 Nuu-chah-nulth Nations.

During the open house, the Westerly News asked to speak to a member of Huu-ay-aht First Nations, but no representative was in attendance.

Kelly Bedford manages WestCoast Wild Adventures, a floatplane, zipline and kayak ecotour operator, located on Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations traditional territory.

“I paused for a moment when I looked around the room and noticed that nobody was from [the community] at all,” he said. “That separates the project from the community that I call home.”

He thought it was a bit odd that nobody from Huu-ay-aht was at the Ucluelet open house.

“I think moving forward the way for First Nations to engage with the land is tourism. It’s ecotourism. That’s the way of the future for sure. It involves taking care of the land,” said Bedford.

Local retiree Phil Hood said it’s great that Huu-ay-aht is involved, but thinks it’s equally important that the town of Ucluelet is equally consulted.

“A kayaker kayaking down Trevor Channel is going to be exposed to something pretty out-of-the-ordinary. What’s that going to look like? Do they care about that kayaker?” said Hood.

“I think that it’s really important that that kayaker be a respected voice in the decision as should be the fisherman as should be the environmentalist.”

Kwispaa LNG is a tough sell, adds Hood.

“The concept of tankers coming through the Barkley Sound; that’s a tough concept to swallow,” he said.

Steelhead LNG project manager Nathan Gloag encouraged members of the community to provide feedback.

“Part of our philosophy at Steelhead is to be out in the community as much as possible. We’ve always said along the way that we want to continue to engage with the local community as we progress through the project,” he said.

Since Steelhead LNG and Huu-ay-aht first entered into a co-management relationship in 2014, Gloag noted they have hosted several LNG 101 and community engagement sessions in Ucluelet, Bamfield, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, and Victoria.

“We understand that not everyone is in support of the project or even agrees with the project, but we are here to provide as much factual information to give people,” said Gloag.

Kwispaa LNG has formally entered the environmental assessment phase.

“We have advanced environmental work into the field and will work the concerns into the development of the project over the next few years,” Gloag said.

Potential project related effects to the environment, as stated in the Kwispaa LNG Project Description, include a destruction of freshwater and marine fish habit, loss of habitat to marine vegetation, a loss of habitat for migratory birds due to the project footprint and from sensory disturbance, and a direct and indirect loss to marine mammal habitat.

A final investment decision for Kwispaa LNG is slated for 2020.

Conceptual rendering of the proposed at-shore LNG export facility at Sarita Bay. (Photo Courtesy of Steelhead LNG)

BamfieldHuu-ay-ahtKwispaaSteelhead LNGucluelet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Camp Barnard during the 2019 Pacific Jamboree. (Photo: Camp Barnard)
Camp Barnard near Sooke hopes fundraiser will help it progress on accessibility goals

I Care ‘Bout Camp challenge hopes to raise $100,000 for new lodge, replaced kitchen

Saanich council recently adopted a 131-step climate action plan expected to cost $2.5-million in the first year of implementation. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tensions high as Saanich considers reigniting local area plan review

Majority vote pushes discussion to fall strategic plan check-in

Alphabet Zoo Early Learning Centre wants to relocate from Langford to 3322 Fulton Rd. in Colwood, but has not been approved for a P-6 zoning by Colwood council. Residents who neighbour the property, have expressed concern to the Goldstream Gazette regarding the potential daycare site. Neighbours Ryan Landa and Selene Winchester said the noise of construction has been disruptive to the area, and the property is not suitable for a daycare. (Photo contributed/Ryan Landa)
Proposed West Shore daycare stirs up controversy amongst neighbours

Neighbouring property owners are concerned about traffic, noise that a daycare would bring to the area

Oaklands Elementary’s Division 5 Grade 4/5 class posed with Leila Bui (middle), her dad Tuan Bui (crouching to her left) and mom Kairry Nguyen (right) after presenting the family with a cheque for $710 raised by the students during a necklace sale in December 2020. (Photos courtesy Kairry Nguyen)
Victoria students raise funds for girl seriously injured when struck by vehicle in crosswalk

Oaklands Elementary class contributes to purchase of all-terrain wheelchair for Leila Bui

Saanich Fire Department. (Black Press Media file photo)
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Fingers crossed that procedure can give Cole Moore a new lease on life after decade of seizures

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

Most Read