Anti-LNG banners ordered removed from Britannia Beach bluffs 

Activist says request to remove banners on rock bluffs above Hwy 99 about not wanting LNG protest

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JENNIFER THUNCHER - no Lng Anti-LNG banners have been ordered removed from Britannia Beach bluffs.
  • Photo by jennifer thuncher
  • no Lng Anti-LNG banners have been ordered removed from Britannia Beach bluffs.

A Britannia Beach resident has been asked to remove anti-LNG banners, which he hung from the rock bluff near Highway 99, by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD).

"I felt curiously amused by it because it is silly," said Ralph Fulber, who hung the signs on the bluff adjacent to his property, in mid-July.

"It is really silly... It seems like such an old school, knee-jerk reaction."

The signs are protesting the building of a proposed LNG plant slated for the Woodfibre site near Squamish.

As far as Fulber is concerned he followed all necessary protocols to hang them by including the Squamish First Nation in the decision to put the signs up. The bluffs are on unceded Squamish land, he contends.

However, Patricia Heintzman, chair of the SLRD, said Fulber did not get the necessary permits before hanging the signs. The SLRD has also received a complaint from the RCMP about the signs, she added.

Squamish RCMP were unable to confirm a complaint had been forwarded to the SLRD, but Sgt. Wayne Pride said that complaints are sometimes forwarded on to different authorities without any formal file being made.

According Fulber, on Aug. 28 the emergency program director of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) showed up at his door to serve a notice requesting he take down the banners.

He said the director told him the RCMP felt the banners are a hazard because they distract motorists. The director also said the banners violate a district bylaw regulating signs.

So far, Fulber is refusing to remove the signs on several grounds including that he got permission from the Squamish Nation.

"We had real song and dance... we drummed and sang (at) the original erection of that original sign," he said, adding the bluffs were historically utilized as a sacred aboriginal site of demarcation and warning to the community. He believes he is continuing that tradition with the protest signs.

He also argues the SLRD bylaw requiring the permitting of signs specifically exempts "temporary banners," such as the ones he has hung.

Fulber believes the request has more to do with some not wanting the passersby in the up to 15,000 vehicles that travel the corridor each day to see the protest signs against the Woodfibre LNG facility — planned for 2017 — and the so-called fracking method of extracting the gas.

"It is what is on the signage, it's the content — it could be political," he said.

"I know how many thousands of people drive by this sign every day... and I think this is what pisses them off, this is big money, and this is irritating and this is bigger forces at play."

The SLRD said that the notice served to Fulber is one of dozens served each year in the district.

"Every municipality has bylaws that govern when and how and what signs can go up or can't go up and the SLRD is no different," said Heintzman.

"We were simply responding to a complaint," said Heintzman, adding that the next step is to wait to see if Fulber complies with the notice before taking further action.

Fulber said if the situation isn't resolved beforehand, he plans to appear at the next SLRD board meeting with hopes the board will allow him to keep the signs as is.

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