Kitimat continues to aim for plebiscite

An April 12 plebiscite is still on after a defeated motion by a councillor to have the whole process halted.

Corrected from an earlier error saying the plebiscite was on April 15.

And further corrected due to an incorrect quote attribution.

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Despite an effort by councillor Phil Germuth, Kitimat will continue sailing ahead on a plebiscite for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines proposal.

April 12 is set for the general voting day for people to offer their opinion in an election-like setting.

However the question remains unchanged, which is a problem for Germuth and part of the reason he set to have the process cancelled.

District of Kitimat administration has estimated the bill to the town on holding the plebiscite to be approximately $13,500.

Corinne Scott voted with Germuth in cancelling the plebiscite, while the remainder were in favour. Rob Goffinet is out of town and so was not in attendance for the meeting on March 3.

Germuth didn’t mince words in describing his opinion of the question at hand for April.

“The community came out and told us the questions stinks and yet we completely ignored it,” he said to applause in the gallery of people watching the meeting in person. “So how you can say you care about the feel of the community? Not one person came up to the mic and said ‘oh I think it’s a great question, I think you’re doing a good job.’”

Germuth was reacting to the majority of council saying they want to proceed on the plebiscite to know how the community feels about the project.

“I’m quite interested in determining to what extent our community is divided…hopefully we’ll get a strong turn-out at the plebiscite,” said Feldhoff.

Feldhoff adds that he wants the results to be forwarded to senior levels of government.

Mary Murphy feels that the process is worthwhile, also noting that the price tag for the plebiscite works out to $1.50 a person.

She said holding the plebiscite is giving residents their right to voice their opinion.

Edwin Empinado said that while he had initially wanted the cheaper mail-out option, he later came to realize cost wasn’t what is important, and says council should push through on a plebiscite, as it will be important knowledge for council.

But for Corinne Scott meanwhile isn’t convinced the plebiscite will benefit anyway.

“At this point, as much as we wanted to know what the feeling of the community is, all that we know so far is that we’re split,” she said, adding that if just 50 per cent of eligible voters turn out they still won’t have a good idea of the community opinion.