Council taken to task over PNW motion

The business community made their voices crystal clear during the city’s latest council session on Nov. 28

The business community made their voices crystal clear during the city’s latest council session on Nov. 28: to approve, or even consider Coun. Joy Thorkelson’s motion to not support the Pacific NorthWest LNG project would be a grave mistake.

A group of 10 citizens, partly made up of business owners and operators, along with a couple politicians, came out in full force to express their displeasure and disappointment over what transpired during council’s discussions on Nov. 14 when the motion was introduced.

The line of community members making their way to the microphone before council was extensive as one by one, residents told council their thoughts on a number of points, mainly how the behaviour by audience members at the previous meeting was deplorable, with many clapping, jeering, holding anti-LNG signs and shouting at members of council, reminding the city of the scope of its mandate in relation to the project, reminding them of the extensive three-year process of the environmental work that has already been completed with monitoring power in the hands of area First Nations, and finally the economic benefits that the Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG) project would bring to the community.

Rupert resident Scott Farwell told mayor and council that he was disappointed in the ‘hijacking’ of the last council session by outspoken audience members, which lacked respect for the elected officials and city staff.

“The office of the council chambers is really one where people should be able to come in and speak their mind without fear of retribution from others or intimidation. Anything that doesn’t allow that is disrespectful and should not be allowed in our community,” he said.

Farwell added that the PNW LNG motion before council is out of its mandate.

“I urge council to defeat the motion – handily defeat the motion – and let that segment of bullies know that council is not going to be hijacked anymore,” he said. “It’s fortunate that [PNW LNG] is interested in negotiating or entering some benefit agreement with the City of Prince Rupert, because truthfully they probably don’t have to.”

Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce president Keith Lambourne had the same sentiments for council, saying that the Chamber chose to support the project after the Draft Environmental Assessment Report was released, saying there would be no significant adverse effects to salmon in the area with mitigation measures.

“The salmon are important to us as they are to everyone else. We’re satisfied that the process has been thorough and all the legal pieces are in place for the project to proceed,” said Lambourne.

Business owners John Farrell and Brian Musgrave also added their thoughts to motion, which were to encourage council to look out for all Rupert residents, not just those in a specific industry.

“Unlike the organizers of the protests we saw a week and a half ago, I have faith in my neighbouring communities of Kitkatla, Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams. They have already said they will be monitoring this project, ensuring the salmon and Skeena estuary are safe,” Farrell said.

Musgrave added that while previous councils have cut expenses so clean there is nothing left to cut, it’s necessary to increase revenue for residents to thrive and eliminate the infrastructure deficit.

Candidate for the North Coast B.C. Liberal nomination Rodney Proskiw also ensured that mayor and council recognize the gravity of what’s at hand, saying the members of the community have worked too hard for the project to be halted at the 11th hour.

“I certainly hope that you would never ever consider [this motion]. There is too much at stake. The future of our entire region is at stake with either this project, or ones that are upcoming,” Proskiw said.

“There are some industries in this region that are not prospering right now and haven’t prospered for a long time. Is it fair to hold everyone hostage to these industries and not allow forward movement and forward growth? I don’t think so.”

Lax Kw’alaams Band council member Chris Sankey also provided an update on the Band’s work with the proponent, saying that Lax Kw’alaams mayor and council won’t be bullied by outside interests.

“We respect other people’s opinions and I think Lax Kw’alaams government and Mayor John Helin and council have been very respectful of those opinions,” said Sankey. “It is the Coast Tsimshian territory of Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla and we are not going to be dictated by other communities or individuals or groups who think otherwise. We would never do it to them and we respectfully ask they not do it to us. So we will follow through on the process that was set out and mandated by our membership that voted in favour of the process to continue on.”

 

Just Posted

BC Bus North service extended to September

Transportation ministers have extended the service, which was set to expire at the end of May

Nisga’a leader named UNBC chancellor

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell is the first Indigenous leader to assume the role

Northwest local governments team up to fill in future employment gaps

Around 17,000 jobs will need to be filled in the region over the next eight years

Poetry month sees launch of “Oona River Poems” at Rupert library

Peter Christensen consciously and lovingly documents our physical and psychological landscapes

Lily Swanson celebrates her 90th birthday in Prince Rupert

The Acropolis Manor resident has 22 grandchildren and is a great grandmother to 25 children

Prince Rupert students share portraits of kindness with children in Peru

The Memory Project gives teens a chance to sharpen their art skills and global awareness

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Canfor curtailing operations across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Haida youth travels to New York for UN forum on Indigenous issues

Haana Edensaw presented her speech in Xaad Kil, Masset dialect of the Haida language

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read