ENBRIDGE IS spending several million dollars to get its point of view across over its $5.5 billion Northern Gateway project.
Newspaper, online and print ads are being released between now and September when the company has a chance to provide details of its project when a federal review of the project enters a new phase.
Company spokesman Paul Stanway said a series of panel hearings since January has been frustrating because the format doesn’t provide the company a chance to respond to what has been a virtual unanimous condemnation off the project.
Hearings that started in January began with First Nations providing their perspective and then switched to people providing 10-minute long statements.
But beginning this fall, Stanway continued, the company will be able to answer objections raised at the hearings so far and present the technical side of its 1,170km pipeline plan to ship Alberta crude to a marine export terminal at Kitimat.
“We just didn’t want to leave a vacuum until September,” said Stanway of the reasoning behind the ad campaign.
It’s designed to make more people aware of the details of the project because, Stanway added, polling shows that the more people know, the more they are comfortable with Northern Gateway.
“Support is at 50 per cent across B.C. and it’s a bit higher along the [pipeline right-of-way]. But what we did find is that knowledge about the pipeline is higher along the right-of-way,” he said.
That 50 per cent support figure is taken from a recent poll and is about the same as discovered in a poll conducted by Enbridge before the federal hearings started in January.
“We know there are a lot of people who support the pipeline. We know because we communicate with them,” said Stanway.
Stanway did allow that opposition to Northern Gateway has firmed up a bit between the first and second polls.
There’s no polling going on in Alberta, which would play host to 40 per cent of Northern Gateway’s length, because Enbridge already knows support there is “considerably higher,” he added.
“That’s a very different public discussion,” said Stanway of the situation in Alberta. “There’s a much higher familiarity there, a much higher comfort level.”