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Richard 'Hub' HughesThere was an overflow crowd at the CVRD’s Wednesday night Regular Board Meeting.

Opponents left no doubt that they are opposed to the proposed Steelhead LNG/Malahat Nation massive floating LNG facility in Saanich Inlet off Bamberton.

A delegation of two speakers, Edward Arnold and Nick Versteeg provided the Board of Directors with many reasons for opposing LNG facilities within the region and congratulated the directors for passing their February 1oth unanimous motion opposing LNG.

Cobble Hill CVRD Director Matteus Clement

Cobble Hill CVRD Director Matteus Clement broke from talking points

It is clear that Steelhead promoters have been in contact with senior staff regarding a possible rezoning application needed before they could commence building a massive floating LNG facility at Bamberton in the Saanich Inlet.

Despite CAO Carruthers repeated denials that senior staff  had met with Steelhead LNG officials, both Director Clement and Chair Lefebure said that they had.

CVRD CAO Brian Carruthers

CVRD CAO Brian Carruthers

Cobble Hill Director Matteus Clement released a video that broke with Planning GM Ross Blackwell’s highly irregular instructions that Directors’ must remain neutral.

Director Clement stated that he regretted his support for the motion which opposed LNG facilities and wishes he had not voted to support it, as he did.

That is his right, as it is for all directors for or against any matters before the board.

A great deal has been made of Steelhead LNG’s rights. Let me put that notion to rest now, and let me advance the case of CVRD residents rights.

GM of CVRD Planning Ross Blackwell

GM of CVRD Planning Ross Blackwell

The South Cowichan Official Community Plan prohibits facilities such as proposed by Steelhead LNG/ Malahat Nation, pure and simple.

There is nothing vague or uncertain about it. It is the responsibilty of the staff and board to respect and defend  the South Cowichan Community Plan.

Policy 16.4: Within the South Cowichan Plan area, the CVRD Board has designated a number of land areas for industrial use. These include:

  • The Bamberton industrial lands
  • 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.
Jon Lefebure

Chair Jon Lefebure

There is nothing in the Community Charter or Local Government act that discourages local governments from advising potential applicants seeking zoning changes, that it is highly doubtful as it is in conflict with OCP and zoning.

Steelhead LNG/Malahat Nation does not have the automatic right to suck the CVRD into a long drawn out, expensive, community fight over something rejected by the zoning and the Official Community Plan.

CVRD Lawyer Peter Johnson

CVRD Lawyer Peter Johnson

Further, on February 10th the CVRD Board unanimously opposed locating LNG export facilities throughout the region. Two days later the CAO hired a lawyer, with our money, to provide an opinion on that motion, suggesting bias and engaging the board in a divisive and unecessary harangue.

The CVRD hired lawyer Peter Johnson did not support the contention that bias took place. The Directors were standing up for the OCP and the zoning.

The CVRD has through three CAO’s overseen at least three similar cockups in recent years.


Artists rendition of floating LNG facility off Bamberton

The SIA effort to dump 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil into the Shawnigan Watershed, the ill fated attempt to locate a garbage transfer and recycling drop off on farmland, the so called Eco Depot, and the attempt to process gravel at the Balme Ayr gravel operation.

Mill Bay-Malahat CVRD Director Kerry Davis

Mill Bay-Malahat CVRD Director Kerry Davis

In each of those examples the senior staff and a majority of directors dug in their heels and refused to follow their own bylaws or properly interpret their own zoning, temporary use permits, or OCP’s.

It has costs us literally millions in wasted staff time and legal fees, to say nothing of the disruption to the residents in the communities involved.

It is time for the CVRD Directors to direct senior staff to stand down. Enough trouble and expense has been caused by their reluctance, if not outright refusal, to follow Board direction.

Their is no obligation to process an application when it is not supported by the elected representatives, the OCP or the zoning.

It is time to tell Steelhead LNG that their proposal is not acceptable and that they might just as well save their money, pack up their bags and leave town.




3 comments to Steelhead LNG Opponents Jam CVRD Board Room To Back Lori Iannidinardo and Deliver Their Message to The Directors

  • taxpayer 7

    If you have ever had the pleasure of contacting the planning manager you receive this scripted return email that basically states” thank-you for your interest” and then not much contact after that.

    If he put as much time and effort into communicating with us as he did with trying to pressure the Directors, I would be a bit more lenient on his unprofesionalism.

  • Mark Mannith

    It is outrageous that senior staff have swooped into the political arena. They have shown us that they are incompetent. Mr. Caruthers needs to gain credibility and let go of his Planning Manager. Mr. Blackwell has caused so much suspicion with his bungling-

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