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SLRD muses Woodfibre-related noise complaints

The SLRD board encouraged residents to register their complaints with the DOS
The floating storage containers will be on this north end shore and docked end-to-end instead of parallel.

Noise generated from ongoing work at Woodfibre LNG is impacting residents of nearby Britannia Beach, according to local area director Tony Rainbow.

Speaking at the Feb. 29 board meeting, Rainbow reported that residents had approached him with concerns about works being carried out late in the evening, in contravention of SLRD bylaws—but not in contravention of the District of Squamish, which is where the site (mostly) sits, and which issued a noise bylaw exemption to the project.

Britannia Beach is southeast across Howe Sound from the Woodfibre LNG site on the west shore, and according to residents of that community, construction noise is impacting them.

“Sound travels across water especially at night,” wrote Rainbow in his directors report to the board, where he asked the regional district to consider a formal cross-jurisdictional process for dealing with complaints.

Rainbow stressed he has no issue with what has taken place procedurally, in that the DOS issued an exemption to Woodfibre LNG, and that complaints about noise to him and the SLRD had been forwarded over to the DOS—but that he wants a formal process considering the works on the site are estimated to go on for years.

“My point is that it's more regional in nature, it does affect Britannia, and I’d like us to have a formal way of dealing with that and that would be that district staff would contact our communications staff, and then there would be a communication to Britannia,” he said.

The noise exemption issued to the project is to allow for tunnel boring works to continue 24-7, with the contractor, Frontier-Kemper Michels (FKM), saying that continual operation of boring machinery was required for safety reasons.

The works are expected to continue into 2026.

Director Jenna Stoner, who is also a councillor with the DOS, told the board noise bylaws were delegated to staff, and the bylaws are complaint-based. She also added that Britannia Beach was considered by staff when the exemption request came through the bureaucracy.

“If we can forward the complaints that are coming from Britannias Beach to the District of Squamish, then we can action it,” she said, and encouraged any and all complaints to be recorded with the SLRD and the DOS so the municipalities can track them.

“That’s the best tool that we have in order to actually implement the conditions that are imposed on that noise bylaw exemption,” she said.

Stoner also added she believes the responsibility of communicating any noise-related works should also fall to the proponent.

“I would also urge that this actually become a request to Woodfibre LNG … this is the responsibility of the proponent to articulate the impacts on the community, so I would like to see some of the onus there, as opposed to squarely on the District,” she said.

During discussion, Chief Administrative Officer Heather Paul also encouraged any residents with issues to approach both the SLRD and DOS, saying by recording noise complaints, the municipalities can have input.

Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford talked about the complexity and scope of the project (which he defined as being both the pipeline, and Woodfibre LNG), and said this is a case that shows the need for clear communication from the project proponents in communicating with the community. 

“I think these two local governments can work together to improve that slightly, but this highlights the challenges of the project, in that they’re not meeting the bar of public communication,” he said.

Rainbow’s ask for better communication was endorsed by the board, with his formal motion that the board advocate to the DOS to consider the impacts on Britannia Beach when dealing with decisions on Woodfibre LNG, and to explore how to approach noise impacts on neighbouring communities.

“What I am trying to do here is smooth things out a little here and make sure both entities are talking to each other, and we try to minimize the amount of concern as we go forward,” he said.