Board Releases Statement on LNG Projects in Cowichan ValleyDuncan:
At its March 9 meeting, the Board released the following statement:
“While the Board of the CVRD has expressed its opposition and lack of support for future LNG projects in the Cowichan Valley, the Board is aware of its responsibilities to give appropriate consideration to any land use application that might be made to the Regional District in accordance with the Local Government Act.”“This statement has been made to clarify for all concerned that regardless of the Board’s views and concerns related to LNG facilities, the Board recognizes its statutory duty to hear and consider all information it receives in relation to future land-use applications and decisions,” explains CVRD Chair Jon Lefebure.Chair Lefebure goes on to say “The community has expressed a strong interest in the LNG issue and how the CVRD will respond. It is important to note that before a liquid natural gas facility could operate, approvals and permits from various agencies are required, including appropriate zoning to allow the use. Zoning of the lands proposed for such a facility is the responsibility of local government. Any decision to permit or not permit the use will be made by the CVRD Board after a fair hearing of the proposal, as well as the opinions and interests of the public.”– 30 –For more information, please contact:Jon LefebureBoard Chair, CVRD250.746.3122
Let us recount the recent events. February 10th, the CVRD Board passed an unaimous motion rejecting LNG at Bamberton or anywhere else in the region.
Two days later following a secret meeting with Environment Minister Mary Polak, Chair Lefebure told the Board that he apologized for allowing the motion to proceed.
Seems that Chair Lefebure, CAO Carruthers and Planning GM Blackwell who had met with Steelhead representatives, took two days for their minds to grasp the reality of the motion in opposition to a floating LNG mega project off of Bamberton in the sensitive Saanich Inlet.
Their next move was to hire a taxpayer funded lawyer, Peter Johnson, in a misguided attempt to discredit Director Lori Iannidinardo for making a motion that they insisted showed bias.
Of course there was no bias. The motion essentially reflects the South Cowichan OCP and accompanying zoning.
The official statement above is a embarassment that you would think that they would like to let go of, but no, they seem determined to pour LNG on the fire.
Is Lefebure trying to breathe life into the LNG play setting up for Steelhead to make an application for rezoning in spite of the Boards sustained motion in opposition, the OCP and the zoning all of which prohibit an LNG faciltity from locating at Bamberton?
When the Chair refuses to follow and continues in his thinly veiled accomodation of Steelhead’s proposal then he is unable to provide the balance and leadership required as Chair of the CVRD Board.
Here for Chair Lefebure, and a reminder for the rest of us, is what the Official Community Plan has to say.
- Policy 16.5: New industries considered hazardous due to the transport, handling, bulk storage, or use of liquefied natural gas, radioactive or other dangerous or toxic materials will not be permitted to locate within the Plan area.
This policy applies to the Bamberton land in accordance with the SCOCP (16.4).
The application, if one is to materialize, is not deserving of a…”fair hearing of the proposal, as well as the opinions and interests of the public.”
There is nothing compelling the Board to accept any application that so blatantly disrespects the Official Community Plan in this regard. It is time to tell Steelhead that the OCP will be respected.
The CVRD has spent millions inppropriately over legal issues of its own making and causing turmoil and disruption to residents uneccesarily.
We owe Steelhead nothing. They do not automatically have a ‘right’ to an application to rezone and put the South Cowichan community through the turmoil and expense that would ensue.
In leading the board, Lefebure does us all a diservice by glossing over the OCP, if he looked at it at all.
The community invests significant amounts of time and money developing an official community plan. The disregard shown is disrectful to the community and makes a mockery out of the entire OCP process.
Steelhead LNG’s proposal is not to be welcomed, encouraged or accomodated. The citizen residents of South Cowichan rights must be upheld and protected from this unthinkable intrusion.