Whistler council passed a motion Monday supporting Lions Bay Mayor Brenda Broughton in her opposition to Westcoast Gas Service’s proposed liquefied natural gas storage facility at McNab Creek in Howe Sound.
"I don’t understand why it has to be one big tank," Councillor Ted Milner said in making the motion. "Why not several small, unobtrusive tanks?"
Westcoast has proposed the construction and operation of a LNG peakshaving facility in the Upper McNab Creek areas, 7.5 kilometres inland on the west side of Howe Sound. The facility would be located alongside the existing Vancouver Island natural gas pipeline. It would be 170 feet tall and would be visible from a 2.3 km stretch of Highway 99, north of Horseshoe Bay.
The LNG would be used for meeting peak winter demand for natural gas in the Lower Mainland, approximately 10-12 days per year.
Broughton, in her presentation to Whistler council Monday, noted the area is an earthquake zone and safety is a concern. She said the proposed facility is 50 per cent larger than any other LNG storage tank in North America and the only other tanks of its size in the world have been decommissioned.
For its part, Westcoast says the facility would be built to withstand a tremor of 8.5 on the Richter Scale.
"We need to plan for Howe Sound, rather than reacting to proposals like this," Broughton said.
She added that with the facility only required to meet demand 10-12 days a year what it really does is provide Westcoast an opportunity to maintain its market position.
Broughton also noted that there is an industrial park on the west side of Howe Sound that is zoned for export shipping, although the park is currently too small to serve Westcoast’s facility.
Westcoast has said the proposed tank will not involve a port shipment facility.