Kitimat council still pushing for delay to marine plan process

Poor community consultation still has Kitimat Council concerned over MaPP process.

Council and the public have not given up hope that the Marine Planning Partnership system can be halted until there’s been meaningful consultation.

The partnership, which includes various stakeholders and First Nations on an advisory group, have been developing marine plans outlining suggestions for the provincial government on how to manage and develop coastal areas.

However many have felt left out of the process, and even after council spoke to representatives of MaPP at a recent open meeting, they still are pushing for better consultation.

The public has joined the fight as well. Most vocal is Dave Wahl, who runs Eagle Edge Charters in Kitimat, and who wrote and presented to Kitimat Council to push for his suggested motion that the MaPP proposal be held in abeyance until there’s been meaningful consultation.

“If we don’t do something about it we’re not only denying the people of British Columbia to examine this, we’re also just going right over the heads of all the governments, including the federal government,” he said. The MaPP process has bypassed all structures of government, he said.

Wahl also noted that in speaking to MLA Robin Austin and MP Nathan Cullen, neither had knowledge of the MaPP process.

Councillors, who asked for but failed to receive an extension to the public comment portion of the MaPP process, passed a motion which reads, “That the MaPP proposal be held in abeyance until full meaningful consultation with ocean user groups as equal partners is complete.”

It is the first line of Wahl’s suggested motion, which in full had outlined how consultation should occur.

Feldhoff, who moved it, said that if full meaningful consultation takes place all those other details would follow.

“I’m really, really disappointed,” said Feldhoff about the MaPP process so far. “I’m very disappointed that they would not give the community meaningful consultation and extend the timelines.”

Other councillors shared their frustration over the process.

Edwin Empinado said that this motion is needed to put in hard writing council’s desire in terms of this process.

Mary Murphy agreed saying they haven’t done enough to reach stakeholders.

“They listened to everyone who spoke against what the proposal was, and then met with certain individual groups but didn’t meet with everyone who was opposed to it,” she said, saying the process should now go back to square one.

Rob Goffinet said the people behind MaPP have not received a social licence.

“At the moment it’s absolutely obvious they lack it,” he said.