Douglas Channel Watch had a line-up of five speakers for their presentation to the Joint Review Panel hearings held January 11.
Leading off was Murray Minchin who pointed out he had lived in the area since he was four-years-old. Though he had left to go to college and later travelling, he told the panel, “I always came back, like the power of this place always drew me back.”
During his years here he had hiked just about every mountain in the region as well as rivers and their tributary streams.
“I’ve sea kayaked quite a bit,” he said, adding he and his wife had kayaked the whole coast of BC over the course of a year.
Minchin showed numerous photos he had taken on his hiking trips to illustrate the beauty of the area, adding some locations have since been logged.
Plus one of a sapling trying to grow in an estuary. “It tried everything it had [to survive] but eventually it just got pushed over and died because it was in the wrong place.”
He then drew a parallel to the Northern Gateway project – “it’s just in the wrong place.”
In closing he said adding more risk to the cumulative damage that had already been done to the local environment “would essentially be a crime. It should be given a chance to heal.”
Dieter Wagner, calling upon his 35 years experience of sailing, many of those in local waters, focused on safety concerns.
Noting Peter King had raised the example of the Suez Canal, Wagner asked, “Does it have steep gravel banks? Does it have three 90-degree plus turns? Does it have 24 tides with the corresponding tidal currents?”
Following metallurgist Dave Shannon’s presentation on the potential problems of corrosion with double-hulled tankers, Margaret Ouwehand, a 51-year resident of Kitimat, told the panel, “Our rivers, our channel, our wildlife, the first nations way of life as well as that of those of us who are relative newcomers, all are being threatened.”
Cheryl Brown recounted her 20 years of involvement with a provincial land and resource management plan for the area and how a plan was eventually agreed by consensus and approved by Victoria.
Noting how different this process was from that of the LRMP, she added, “I know that as a panel you are working hard and you are working in good faith, but I have concerns about the government and the decision making.
“It is not clear to me how this decision process will be made … but I am losing confidence in the ability of this process from my personal experience in the past.”