Demonstrations were recently held across the province against the proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipelines. Opinion poll after opinion poll has revealed British Columbians are fundamentally opposed to allowing bitumen-loaded tanker traffic on out coast. But are our provincial leaders listening?
The BC Liberal position continues to be that if the price is right, tanker traffic would be allowed. The NDP have taken a strong position against the Northern Gateway project but are noticeably silent on the Kinder-Morgan Transmountain pipeline. This can only be interpreted as tacit support.
So while attention is focused on the Northern Gateway, the Transmountain twinning continues to advance under the radar. What does this mean for residents of Oak Bay-Gordon Head?
In 2017, the proposal is for some 300, 245-metre-long Aframax tankers a year to leave Westridge Terminal in Burnaby. The lion’s share of these tankers would be loaded with bitumen and headed to Asia through Boundary Pass and Juan de Fuca Strait. Yes, this means right in front of the Gordon Head, Ten Mile Point, Cadboro Bay, Uplands, and the Oak Bay coastline.
This is why the residents of our region were so upset that no one came to meet them at the recent demonstration in front of Minister Chong’s office. These were regular citizens wanting to be heard, not shut out. The Kinder Morgan pipeline will have very real consequences for the constituents of our riding.
During the week of Dec. 3 to 9, Kinder Morgan is planning information sessions in Oak Bay, Saanich and the West Shore where you can learn more (transmountain.com). The Dogwood Initiative, Islands Trust and David Suzuki Foundation websites also contain a wealth of information on the proposed Kinder Morgan twinning, including model-based oil spill simulations at davidsuzuki.org/flash/oil-spill.html.
Editor’s note: Weaver is a Lansdowne Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Victoria. He is also the Green Party of B.C. candidate in the May 2013 provincial election.