First look at Prince Rupert’s official position on Enbridge pipeline

Council has released a draft of a submission to the Enbridge hearings, arguing clean waters too economically important to risk.

The City of Prince Rupert has released a draft of its written submission to the government hearings on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, which are set top begin next month.

Boiled-down to its most basic message, the submission argues that Prince Rupert depends on a pristine marine environment too much to put it at risk – no matter how statistically small that risk is – by having oil tankers sailing out of Kitimat.

The submission itself is kept clean of any slights against Enbridge the company, nor does it point out any particular aspect or perceived flaws of the project that are cause for concern. Instead of arguing the moral responsibility of protecting the environment, they make their argument with the same tools that the energy company often makes theirs: economics.

The thrust of the City’s argument is that many of the existing industries in Prince Rupert depend on a clean marine environment for survival. Prince Rupert’s tourism for instance relies on it for everything from the nice views for drawing in tourists, to sports fishing and grizzly bear tours.

“Needless to say a Prince William Sound-esque (Exxon Valdez) oil spill would put much of the economic activity in jeopardy not to mention the destruction of marine habitat,” reads the draft submission.

The City also worries what an accident would mean for those who make their living from harvesting resources from the ocean.

“The harvesting of salmon, halibut, herring, crabs and a host of other marine species generates tens of millions of dollars into the Prince Rupert and regional economy. Historically, a clean marine environment has allowed Prince Rupert to literally generate billions of dollars in economic activity.”

The City also argues that First Nations people who live in Prince Rupert have a right to harvest the ocean for social, ceremonial and cultural purpose, a right they could not exercise if the waters off Prince Rupert were ever polluted. This, they fear, would have a profoundly negative effect on aboriginal communities.

“For time immemorial, Coastal First Nation peoples have depended on a clean marine environment to sustain their civilization. That dependency exists to this day even in our modern world.”

The City advocates that the National Energy Board’s joint review panel for assessing the pipeline project should use a method called “the triple bottom line approach.” Using this approach, a potential development is assessed on its social, environmental and economic value, instead of just trying to figure out if a project’s economic benefit outweighs the environmental risk.

This approach is meant to give a better idea of how a project will effect quality of life in a region. The city says that the triple bottom line approach is the basis for the Prince Rupert’s Quality of Life Official Community Plan. The result has been, according to the city, that development in Prince Rupert has gone ahead while keeping in mind how much residents value their environment.

“Even with growth, Prince Rupert has retained its natural and pristine look and feel. Development has been balanced as a result of the retention of natural landscapes, harbour views and mountain views and focusing higher densities and larger buildings downtown,” reads the submission.

With environmental conservation being an important factor for the survival of existing industries and for preserving Prince Rupert’s quality of life for its residents, the City concludes that:

“Any negative effect on the physical environment severely handicaps the community to exist as it desires.”

The written submission will not be the only participation in the Enbridge hearings that the City is planning. The City of Prince Rupert has also registered as an intervenor, which means that it will be allowed to submit questions and present evidence at the hearings when they get underway.

City manager, Gord Howie, cautions that the current draft of the submission is just that: at draft. Which means it could still be changed before being sent to the joint review panel.

 

Just Posted

Bad weather delays next Prince Rupert/Haida Gwaii ferry

Stormy weather will delay the next ferry sailing from Prince Rupert to… Continue reading

Social media strains over Prince Rupert’s boil water notice

Resident forms Community for Clean Water, and Jennifer Rice responds acting mayor’s comments

Port authority imposes ban on development around Lelu Island

Following Pacific Northwest LNG, there will be no future projects proposed near Flora Bank

Shutter Shack being held hostage by landlords, protesters say

Victoria-based landlords to supervise removal of equipment from their Prince Rupert commercial unit

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

This Week Show – Episode 118

Highlights from this week in Prince Rupert

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Student rangers sought for Terrace

Young adults interested in student ranger program have until Feb. 24 to apply

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read