Corinne Scott explains why no vote not an option at regional district

The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine has thrown in their opinion that the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal is no good for the region.

The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine has thrown in their opinion that the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal is no good for the region.

The district board passed a motion that they oppose the project. Among the opponents of the motion was Kitimat Council appointee Corinne Scott, however she said that her vote against it at the regional district does not indicate support for the pipeline.

Rather, she had no choice but to vote and voting ‘no’ was the only way to maintain the neutrality position that Kitimat Council has taken.

“I support the process that’s put in place by the National Energy Board to review all aspects of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline,” she said.

She reiterated the council’s position to wait until the Joint Review Panel (JRP) releases their recommendations before they decide whether to support or oppose the project.

However, based on the rules in the Community Charter, which applies to her position as a director on the regional district board, she could not abstain from voting, an action some people have told her she should have taken.

She explained that unless there’s a conflict of interest, a representative either on councils or regional district boards has to vote — failing to raise your hand in a vote is considered a vote in the positive.

“We can not abstain from voting,” she said, a position she spoke to at the Sept. 17 Kitimat council meeting.

Voting in favour of the motion at the Sept. 14 board meeting were Telegraph Creek director David Brocklebank, Dease Lake alternate director Joey Waite, Terrace municipal directors Dave Pernarowski and Bruce Bidgood, Nass director (and regional district chair) Harry Nyce, Hazelton mayor Alice Maitland, Kispiox/Kitwanga director Linda Pierre and Diana Penner (who was sitting in for absent regular director Doug McLeod) for the area around Terrace.

Voting against the motion were Thornhill director Ted Ramsey, Kitimat municipal director Scott, New Hazelton mayor Gail Lowry and Stewart municipal director Billie Ann Belcher.

At the meeting, Scott said that “Voting against it is to oppose the political process and I feel strongly we have to allow the JRP to complete its findings.”

Bidgood said the review was supposed to be independent and not political and that he had been greatly influenced by the prime minister and federal finance minister supporting the project. “What attracted me to northern B.C. was its beauty,” he said. “If there was an environmental [disaster], I would have a hard time looking at the next generation and saying I didn’t do anything to oppose it.”

Ted Ramsey agreed with Scott, saying his constituents wanted him to remain neutral. Brocklebank said he had yet to talk to anyone who supported the pipeline project.

-With files from the Terrace Standard

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