Northern Gateway documentary coming to Kitimat

Communities along the Northern Gateway route are getting premiers of a documentary about the controversial pipeline.

Two Vancouver-based journalists have produced a documentary on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, and the film is seeing a premier in the Northern region of B.C.

Tomas Borsa told the Sentinel that releasing the film in the North was done as a kind of respect, where other times it seems journalists may descend on a location and leave without ever catching up with their local supporters afterwards.

He said it’s also a form of peer review.

“We thought of it almost as peer review,” he said. “It only makes sense to us to premier it in the north because we’re bound to have gotten something wrong.”

The film was co-made with Borsa and Jean-Philippe Marquis.

“It’s largely interviews with people who are affected by [Gateway], who live in the immediate path of it,” said Borsa.

There is extensive use of historical archives, and covers perspectives from the oil source in Alberta right to the coast.

He said the film does touch on the plebiscite in Kitimat, and the 1976 Kitimat pipeline proposal called Pacific Link.

Borsa said four people are featured in Kitimat-segments in the film, while around 20 people were interviewed through the filming process.

“The film also actually opens with this scene in Kitimat, and looks at this 1976 Kitimat pipeline proposal,” he said, and noted Kitimat gets another 10 minutes dedicated later in the film.

As for the themes of the film, Borsa says it’s a look back at past proposals and how residents and companies can learn for the future.

“It seems that history has a funny way of repeating itself,” he said. “Even if the Northern Gateway doesn’t go ahead…I pretty much guarantee that within five years there will be another project.”

He adds, “Learning from the mistakes of the past will be very important.

“They [companies] need to look back on these public hearings…and be a little more proactive in engaging with people,” he said.

The film in Kitimat will be shown at the Legion hall on April 7.