Where was the City of Prince Rupert when it really mattered? When they could really have made a difference?
As city councillors lambaste Pinnacle Renewable Energy and the Prince Rupert Port Authority over the obvious troubles at Westview Terminal, their yells of indignation are nothing less than hypocritical — and frankly worrisome.
While council now wants to appear to be the champions of the west-enders who are suffering unfortunate problems of a start-up terminal, they are, in fact, the ones who should be taking their fair share of the heat.
During the early stages of the Westview Terminal process, the City of Prince Rupert formally declined an invitation by the Prince Rupert Port Authority to participate in an environmental assessment working group.
The west-enders currently affected by the unacceptable noise and dust should have been championed then, rather than a council who now shows up just to criticize.
Let’s be very clear. Pinnacle must make major changes to live up to the promises that they made way back when. Those living near the terminal have every right to be angry and their demands must be adequately addressed.
But, the only person on that council who has really any right to now wag a disapproving finger is Coun. Barry Cunningham, who is new to council and didn’t tell the Prince Rupert Port Authority to take a hike when they invited council and the city to participate in the environmental assessment.
“It’s getting ridiculous. This so-called poster project of the port has turned into a nightmare for the residents of the area,” Cunningham is quoted in the Northern View special report this week.
He’s right. It is a nightmare.
But for the rest of council to sit in their nice comfy chairs now saying “I told you so” is hypocritical. They didn’t tell the Port or Pinnacle a damn thing.
They decided to act like Switzerland do nothing and hope everything turns out well in the end.
The fact remains, council and the city were asked to get involved and they refused.
Now that the terminal has gone to hell in a handbasket for those living in the west end, council is finally getting around to trying to fulfill its responsibilities as advocates for the residents of Prince Rupert.
“I really believe, as a city council, we need to get these parties together and get this resolved. I don’t know how we can hold them accountable; they seem to think they are above everyone. But it’s time we dragged them in here and got them to talk,” said Cunningham.
On this one, Cunningham is right and wrong.
Wrong in the fact that the time to talk is now … the time to talk was when it bailed on the PRPA invitation. But he is right, given the fact that the city didn’t participate, there is really little the city can do now to hold them accountable.
There are only two possible solutions, the Prince Rupert Port Authority flexes its muscle as landlord, or Pinnacle stands up as a good corporate citizen.
Either way, council is once again a day late and more than a dollar short.