The District of Vanderhoof and Coastal GasLink are requesting the Agricultural Land Commission reconsider their decision to deny a work camp proposed to be built behind the Vanderhoof airport.
“We believe it is still the best site because of the economic benefits to the community, and the legacy benefits to the property,” said Kiel Giddens, public affairs manager in B.C. for the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, in an email to Black Press Media.
The reconsideration request was submitted to the ALC on Friday, Nov. 8.
In terms of legacy benefits to the property, Giddens said, it would include increasing the agricultural potential from the current 6.7 hectares to approximately 19 hectares.
The property where the 900-person work camp was to be located is within Agricultural Land Reserve.
The ALC received public comments identifying an alternate site for the camp on land outside the ALR and within a few kilometres of the proposed site.
In response to these comments, Coastal GasLink confirmed the alternative site was considered, but was deemed secondary to the proposed location due to concerns with access through the ALR and wetness issues that would require earthworks.
In their statement of reasons for rejecting the site, the ALC said the property is currently growing barley and is partially forested. Based on the agricultural capability ratings and current use, the panel found the property has secondary agricultural capability.
Giddens said Coastal GasLink has provided new information to the ALC that supports the case for reconsideration on this site and the way in which it will be handled and stewarded.
“This includes the use of matting to protect soils, the clearing of additional land to be used for agriculture and the composting of woody materials to use on cleared areas,” he added.
Mayor Gerry Thiessen of Vanderhoof said he is hoping the ALC respond to the reconsideration request before Christmas.
As for the construction date for the work camp, if the ALC approves the land for construction, Giddens said in an ideal situation, they would begin construction of the site in the first quarter of 2020.
Thiessen said council hasn’t discussed what their response will be if the ALC rejects their request for reconsideration.
“We feel that this property is the best property and a good opportunity for our community,” he said.
Giddens said for the company the Vanderhoof airport is the “best and preferred site for the community and for our workers.”
“We believe the additional information provided, supports a reconsideration.”
Black Press has reached out to the ALC for a comment.