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Inside the LNG 'floatel' cruise ship that Squamish, B.C., won’t allow

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A 35,000-tonne cruise ship that been that’s been converted into temporary accommodations for LNG workers at great expense remains anchored in Vancouver’s harbour.

Woodfibre Liquified Natural Gas spent $100 million retrofitting the so-called “floatel,” and had hoped it would be moored near Squamish by now.

But the District of Squamish council denied the company the temporary use permit that’s needed to bring the ship in.

“The floatel is a direct response to requests from the District of Squamish and the Squamish Nation,” said Woodfibre LNG president Christine Kennedy.

Media were given a tour of the 652 guest room vessel, where its features like onboard sewage and water treatment systems, restaurants, gym, sports bar, stage and recreation centres were showcased with great enthusiasm.

By housing all employees who do not live in Squamish, and will not be allowed into town, Kennedy argued the floatel has addressed all traffic, safety, housing and environmental concerns raised by council.

There is even a gender safety advisory committee.

“We've trained over 1,000 people on site, from employees right through to construction workers, and cleaning crews,” said Deanna Lewis, who is on the team.

But the mayor of Squamish told CTV News that the conditions proposed by Woodfibre LNG have yet to satisfy everyone on council.

“So any future actions, I would assume, would to aim to address that. But at this point the ball is in the proponent’s court,” said Armand Hurford.

The Isabelle X is owned and operated by Bridgemans Service Group. The company insists it’s now a world-class vessel that meets or exceeds all Canadian standards.

“Our floatels are self-contained, our floatels are their own ecosystem, our floatels are the perfect solution,” said president Brian Grange.

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