Last Tuesday I took the opportunity to take in the open house about the Pinnacle Pellet export terminal proposed for Westview Terminal, and it was great to see the room as packed as it was.
Throughout the last half of the evening – I admittedly missed the first half due to other commitments – residents were very engaged with the people representing Pinnacle Pellet about their concerns, their questions and their overall comments. Obviously, as you can see on the letters pages that follow, people are very passionate about this project. I’ve even been approached on the street about the editorial I wrote a few weeks ago on the terminal and the City.
At the meeting itself, I waited for about 30 minutes to talk with Leroy Reitsma, Pinnacle Pellet president and COO, due to the number of people that were wanting to speak with him.
When it comes to a project like this, some people will be in favour for any number of reasons – including jobs, new development and an increased Prince Rupert presence on the international shipping stage – and some will be opposed for a number of reasons – such as visual quality, noise, property values and the loss of the waterfront. It’s projects like this that see neighbours going back and forth about on why they feel the way they do.
And personally, I think it is great to see this conversation taking place and people being engaged. Far too often there has been an opportunity for people to provide feedback to the powers-that-be with next to nobody coming out to join in the discussion (see the official community plan, budget consultations, Committee of the Whole meetings). When something that is going to impact the people of Prince Rupert is coming down the pipe, the more people that give their feedback the better.
Let’s face it, people are going to disagree. But as long as that disagreement is done in a respectable manner, as it was at the open house, it’s a key part of democracy at any level.