Today’s Poll

Nelson Council Comes Out Against Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
July 10th, 2012

Nelson City Council went on record Monday night as being opposed to the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

A motion brought forward by Councillor Candace Batycki directs Council to communicate that position to the provincial and federal governments and endorses the Nelson-based Kootenay to Kitimat Caravan that will leave Nelson on July 16.

Council members had seen the draft resolution several days in advance. See the full text of the resolution at the end of this article. First, here is a transcription of Council’s discussion that followed Acting Mayor Paula Kiss’ reading of the resolution. (Mayor Dooley was absent.) 

Councillor Batycki: I was approached by the group Kootenays for a Pipeline Free B.C., who I was made aware of prior to the really great event they put on at the Capitol with author Andrew Nikiforuk and Art Sterritt from Coastal First Nations. I just think this community group is doing a really great piece of work here. Obviously it’s a big issue for our province, and so it in that spirit that I brought this motion forward.

The “whereas” parts are really pretty much taken from the existing Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) motions that have already been passed, and so really the key thing here is that I really wanted the city to endorse the actions of our citizens of Nelson who are going to be leaving on July 16 on the way to Kitimat and carrying messages of support for the affected communities along the pipeline route. Those communities have passed those motions already. But we would really be the first non pipeline route municipality to pass this re-statement of the UBCM motions with the addition of supporting our own citizens’ caravan. So thanks to the group again.

Member of the public: Is it possible for some citizen input on this? You don’t allow citizens to speak in your meetings?

Acting Mayor Kiss: At the Committee of the Whole meetings, definitely, we invite public input, and at this point Councillor Batycki has taken your information and provided it to us here to make a decision on it tonight. That’s part of our process.

Same member of the public: It’s a backwards way of doing it, but so be it.

Acting Mayor Kiss: It’s politics, there you go. So do we have comments from council?

Councillor Bob Adams: I just want to say that this is the City of Nelson opposing a private industry. I have no problem with every councillor in this room, if they are opposed to the project that’s fine, but the City of Nelson being opposed to private industry, that is just one step a little too far. Great that people are going to Kitimat and presenting petitions but we could get a bunch of people here saying they are opposed to Wal-mart next, then what would we do? I mean as far as I am concerned for the city to oppose it is going too far. For every individual person in the room that’s fine, but I don’t think the city should be jumping on the bandwagon when it is a thousand miles north of here.

Acting Mayor Kiss: I would like to read, in response to that, the “whereas” that states, “Whereas a crude oil spill would have devastating and long lasting effects on the pacific north coasts in an area that is recognized for its unique and diverse ocean ecosystems which provide marine habitat and marine resources that sustain the social, cultural, environmental and economic health of coastal communities…” So I guess it would be depending on which industry’s perspective. There is an actual industry there that may be at risk if the pipeline does go ahead. I am not sure I should be saying that as chair, but if anyone else wants to comment…

Councillor Robin Cherbo: I understand what Councillor Adams is saying, but this is obviously a political issue in our province. Our provincial government is going to be making a decision one way or the other, or it may sit on the fence, but I think it is the responsibility in the greater public interest to let our province know if we are not in favour of this project, and to me it is not opposing the private company. It’s opposing the project.

Acting Mayor Kiss: Any further comments? Seeing none, all those in favour? Opposed? Carried. Thank you very much. 


Councillor Adams cast the lone vote against the motion.

The full text of the motion is as follows:

WHEREAS the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project will result in increased crude oil tanker traffic and risk of accidental oil spills in northern coastal waters in British Columbia;

AND WHEREAS a crude oil spill will have devastating and long lasting effects on the Pacific North Coast area that is recognized for its unique and diverse ocean ecosystems, which provide critical marine habitat and marine resources that sustain the social, cultural, environmental and economic health of coastal communities, including First Nations communities;

AND WHEREAS the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project proposes to deliver tar sands oil for loading onto crude oil tankers and delivery overseas via northern coastal waters;

AND WHEREAS mining of tar sands oil contributes unacceptably to climate change and to degradation of the environment and is contrary to the principles of the BC Climate Action Charter that has been signed by 177 BC local governments, including the City of Nelson, as a commitment to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2012;

AND WHEREAS the Enbridge Pipeline Project would create very few permanent BC jobs or economic development, but would pose grave environmental and economic risks to the province;

AND WHEREAS the Union of BC Municipalities has adopted two motions opposing the Enbridge pipeline project;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Nelson opposes the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project and shall communicate this position to the Federal and Provincial cabinet ministers, who are responsible for decisions on this project, as well as the Prime Minister and the Premier, and the UBCM.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City endorses the Nelson-based Kootenay to Kitimat Caravan, which will leave Nelson on July 16 with the objective of carrying a citizen’s Proclamation of Support to communities in BC who are also in opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

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