As the joint review panel hearings wrapped up this week in Victoria, I feel grateful to have been one of a select few able to voice their opinion directly to the three-member panel.
With only 10 minutes to speak and two Enbridge representatives present (while the public was banned), I provided all the research and data I have found. In my opinion, the proposed tanker route is too dangerous for safe navigation.
Ironically, one report I found was completed for Northern Gateway Pipelines LP, (available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website). It revealed that during simulated tanker runs, pilots often gave the simulations a safety rating of two or three out of a possible five.
The report also revealed that these large vessels will travel through areas such as Principe Channel, which is just 1.4 kilometres wide.
Such vessels have a full turn radius of 1.8 km and can take up to 3.75 km to come to a full stop while running astern at 10 knots.
We have to keep in mind, that each of these vessels is carrying 1.5 million litres in fuel oil alone. Plus, coastal currents can reach up to 16 nautical miles per hour.
Winter storms frequently bring gale force and hurricane force winds, and we cannot ignore the risk posed from earthquakes, such as the 7.8-magnitude event off the coast of Haida Gwaii a mere four months ago.
The risks are too great, and this is just a small portion of the concerning information I found.
While many were unable to voice their own opinions to the panel, I sincerely encourage all British Columbians to continue to investigate and question the proposed project, in order to protect our beautiful, unique and sensitive coastal ecosystems.
Julie Howe, Langford
Assistant lab instructor, Royal Roads University