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The Proposed Steelhead/Malahat Nation Floating LNG facility Huge Environmental Threat

Marilyn Venturi

By Marilyn Venturi

I was very happy to see so many area residents at Wednesday night’s CVRD Board meeting. Many were there specifically to support Director Iannidinardo and her unwavering commitment to doing the job for which she was elected: consulting with her community and advocating for them.

As it turns out, she apparently does not have the respect she deserves from senior staff or her fellow directors. Not all have taken the time she has to educate themselves on this issue. Should they be expected to delve deeply into every issue or even seek legal opinion independent of the Board, as Director Iannidinardo has done? Isn’t that what staff is for?

Generally, I would agree that directors should be able to rely on staff for advice on most issues; however, the proposed Steelhead/Malahat Nation partnership for a floating LNG facility in the Saanich Inlet off the shores of Bamberton represents a huge threat to our environment, societal values and economy.

With all the costly mistakes made by the Board on staff advice in recent years, surely it is their duty to be much better prepared for this fight, particularly after being caught unprepared for the Shawnigan contaminated soil issue debacle.


Artists Rendering Of Proposed Steelhead LNG/Malahat Nation LNG Facility

The motion to oppose LNG that received unanimous support from the Board was done at the right time for the right reasons: BEFORE any new applications for LNG processing facilities had been received and to demonstrate that the CVRD indeed supports the communities, their OCP’s and jurisdiction over land use.

That outrageous threatening letter from Steelhead/Malahat Nation seemed to have had the intended outcome.

Back pedaling can be expected if new information comes to light indicating a mistake was made, but all the cases cited in both legal opinions only reinforced that directors CAN, DO and SHOULD express their opinions in support of their constituents.


Pipeline route

Proposed Route From Cherry Point Washington to Bamberton

I can understand the discomfort that the letter from Steelhead/Malahat Nation generated. It is human nature for most people to avoid conflict.  The motion that passed Wednesday night to reply to the Steelhead/Malahat Nation seemed at first to be a good compromise.  But was this the best course of action?

With a night to think on it and a day discussing it with people I consider to have a good knowledge of the law and a track record of being able to sort through the BS and get to the point, I believe that it was a very poor decision.

They gave in to bullying tactics and in the process may have weakened their position by even acknowledging such a ridiculous letter.

Please stand up for us, directors!


17 comments to The Proposed Steelhead/Malahat Nation Floating LNG facility Huge Environmental Threat

  • Meagan Worthers

    So well written Marilyn!

    It would have been so easy for staff to abide by the OCP. Much time and effort was put into this OCP . What did they do? They decided to try to dumb down the Directors and hired a lawyer, yet again at our expense, to quash the fantastic motion that was made.

    This is what gets me- we are paying Blackwell over 130 000 for this. If he hasnt started to contemplate another position in another area, he should do so now or take a demotion.

    The CAO? Im not sure what his stand is on all of this but he is responsible for Blackwells actions as he is his supervisor. If Caruthers had any sense, he would bring credibility back to the region and the LNG file and demote him.

  • Lavonne Huneck

    The Board’s reaction to the letter was, at best, embarrassing. Thank you Marilyn.

  • Don Willcock

    A professional & well researched, objective post.


  • Matt Young

    The plot thickens! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have a bestseller.

    Its elementary to most of us, stand up to LNG. The Malahat Nation, undoubtedly gives LNG some political power and they have aggressively asserted themselves against the electorate. The letter, theoretically , is written to the electorate, which the Board represents. See it as each electorate receiving this letter via registered mail.

    The incompetence of staff and the much of Directors would have even the greatest detectives baffled.

  • Keith A. Williams

    Great post Marilyn. PWLG; On one hand, your perspective could be right; folks may be overreacting to a theoretical situation. But consider: Steelhead/Malahat’s approach from the very start has been to weaken and break down opposition PRE-application. Why do you think they chose a First Nations partner? My second point is, that i believe it is time to stop buying into the Malahat Nation’s bait-and-switch, ‘confused’, unwitting-victim stance, and to start viewing and approaching the Malahat as politically equal and responsible partners in this awful proposal. No, i do not think folks are overreacting, i believe the resistance to a possibilty this imminent should be early, airtight, and total. Just my perspective, thanks.

    • Marilyn Venturi

      I don’t in any way think that people are overreacting. It is a fact that many in the Malahat Nation are vehemently opposed to the project. I’d like to know what options are available contractually to the newly elected chief and council if they decide not to proceed with the partnership. Steelhead does not “play nice”.

      • Donald Bump

        I wonder if senior staff at the CVRD were bedazzled by meeting with the Environment Minister and decided that the electorate (who are mostly (NDP) should stand down and accept the bs that they are serving us. There is no doubt in my mind that caruthers and Blackwell are Strong C Conservatives and Red Liberals

  • pwlg

    Steelhead has yet to produce anything substantial about their proposed LNG facility. No drawings representing what they intend on building, no operational information, like where will the power to operate the facility come from? Will they build a gas fired power plant? One of their “partners”, Williams, the owner/builder of the pipeline portion of the proposed project, has yet to submit any documents to US federal and state authorities.

    There is no application before the CVRD by Steelhead. I suggest Steelhead get on with the job of either walking away from this project or submitting real plans and documents for assessment by federal, provincial and the general public. I relish the opportunity to examine the documents and have been collecting material for intervention when the time comes.

    The letter sent by Steelhead and a reluctant Malahat Nation to CVRD makes the point, disingenuous to say the least, that CVRD already has a LNG plant in the region and mentions Mt. Hayes. Mt. Hayes, I worked on that project, is a LNG storage facility, not an export facility and in cost alone Steelhead’s proposal is 160 times more than the cost of the Mt. Hayes LNG storage facility. The Mt. Hayes facility was built to store enough natural gas (in liquid form) in case of service interruptions from the mainland or if there is a significant spike in usage from customers on Vancouver Island, like a deep long freeze.

    Mt. Hayes cost $186 million, Steelhead proposed LNG $30 billion. This is comparing apples to oranges in the extreme. Nice try though Steelhead.

  • Tim Fallen

    Wonderful Marilyn,

    I attended the meeting as well. We need to keep a close eye on staff with this issue.

  • Sharon Jackson

    Well said Marilyn, thank you. That letter is astonishing. If the whole board stepped down as requested, there would be no government to make a decision for OR against. They seem to have missed that one.

    • Matt Laroux

      The letter speaks to the arrogance of LNG and its fear mongering that seems to have spread to senior staff and influenced some Directors. I would like to see the letter that was penned by CVRD lawyer(paid by out tax dollars) which has not turned up to date.

      We are being represented by staff and some politicians that do not have the same passion or professionalism to stand up to LNG. Rather than assert the desires of the electorate they seem to be placating to LNG.

  • Dara Quast

    Great post Marilyn.

    I could not agree with you more about the situation or Director Iannidinardo.

    Thank you for sharing your view point on this issue.

  • Ernie sanderson

    Great letter Marilyn. The letter was preposterous. Asking cvrd to remove themselves from the lng issue. Many of us went for coffee after that meeting and discussed how the two senior staffers should step down from their positions. They should resign.

  • Penny L

    Hear, hear Marilyn.

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