Anti-Enbridge group seeks Masset’s support

  • Mar. 24, 2010 7:00 a.m.

The Enbridge Awareness Group was in Masset Monday night (March 22), delivering a presentation about the perils posed by a proposed oil pipeline and asking Masset to join other islands communities in opposing the project. Kris Olsen, a member of the awareness group and also a councillor in Queen Charlotte, said there are many reasons to be concerned about the Alberta-Kitimat pipeline and the increased supertanker traffic it will bring to Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance. “The local fishermen are going to be faced, right off the bat, with the loss of some of their valuable fishing grounds,” he said, simply from the additional ships in the area. The ultimate risk and disaster, he said, would be an accident causing a tanker to spill its oil. “This is a time that we as island communities can take a stance, before it’s too late,” he said. “The consequences far outweigh the benefits. The tradeoffs make no sense.” Awareness group members Jaalen Edenshaw and Julianne Kucheran also spoke about the project, which would see a 1,200 km pipeline connecting Kitimat to the Alberta tar sands, and a new marine terminal built at Kitimat so supertankers could load up with oil headed for Asian markets. The decks of the oil-transporting supertankers are bigger than 13 hockey rinks, Ms Kucheran said, and Enbridge estimates that around 225 tankers a year would load up at Kitimat. “As far as Haida Gwaii communities go, I can’t see it having any direct benefit,” Ms Kucheran said. “The communities of Haida Gwaii would see only the negatives.” “I haven’t heard of any positives either, so you’re not the only one,” mayor Barry Pages responded. Mr. Olsen said he is hoping to get a resolution from all the communities by mid-April. Mr. Pages thanked the group and said Masset will decide whether or not to oppose the project at its next meeting April 12.