The Jim Ciccone Civic Centre was evacuated on July 5 after an ammonia leak. (File Photo)

The Jim Ciccone Civic Centre was evacuated on July 5 after an ammonia leak. (File Photo)

Vagueness not an option when lives are on the line

Questionable transparency on the recent ammonia leak at the Prince Rupert civic centre

At the July 23 council meeting, a Prince Rupert resident made an inquiry about whether the results of the ongoing investigation into the cause of the July 4 ammonia leak at the Civic Centre arena would be made public.

Robert Long, manager for the City of Prince Rupert, said that an investigation by WorkSafeBC is ongoing but would not make any definitive statements about making its findings public.

READ MORE: Two taken to hospital after ammonia leak at recreation centre

“We’ll have a report come forward,” he said. “Whether or not it’s public or not will have to remain to be seen, but at the moment we’re investigating.”

Other than a brief press release, there has been very little information from the City as to what actually happened at the arena that day. While it is understandable that the city administrators don’t want to say anything that could be potentially inaccurate or contradict WorkSafe BC’s findings, saying that it “remains to be seen” whether or not those findings will become public is a problem.

People were hurt and the City should be doing everything in its power to reassure the public that it is being transparent to the causes of the ammonia leak. That includes being definitive about releasing the report when it’s finished rather than vague.

READ MORE: Civic centre ammonia incident one of numerous cases occurring in B.C. since 2007

The tragedy that happened in Fernie has been well documented at this point.

City employees working at a public facility were exposed to a lethal substance and died as a result. The appropriate steps were taken to investigate what happened and the public was informed of the results.

They now know the truth with certainty.

That’s the way transparent, responsible administration works. Prince Rupert should do the same.



matthew.allen@thenorthernview.com

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ammoniaCity of Prince Rupert