Kitimat councillors weigh in on protecting water supply and NIMBYism

A motion on leak detection for Northern Gateway kicked off a discussion about neutrality and the 'Not in My Backyard'-people.

A motion which sought to emphasize the District of Kitimat’s resolve in protecting the community’s water supply got de-clawed from the original councillor’s wording.

“This shows no guts,” said Phil Germuth, reacting to an amendment to his motion made by councillor Edwin Empinado.

Germuth’s motion was initially for the DoK to “require Enbridge to install a leak detection system that can locate small volumes…” where a leak would “impact the Kitimat watershed or the District of Kitimat water intakes.”

His motion kicked off a lively debate, which covered everything from the NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard) to concerns centred on the word “require.”

“A spill into our watershed could devastate our community, especially if it enters our water distribution system,” said Germuth in introducing his motion.

He said getting the town’s concerns to the company would give them plenty of time ahead of firming up the final designs of their project.

Mario Feldhoff wasn’t sold on the motion.

“Council has a policy of neutrality towards the Enbridge project. From my perspective that policy supported allowing the independent JRP… to conclude their findings,” he said, adding he supports the numerous conditions which came with the report.

“Those conditions include elements related to leak detection. I do not want council to attempt to replicate the JRP process,” he said.

Feldhoff however also took the opportunity to speak out to those who continue to doubt the JRP process, saying he did not feel the process was pre-destined to approve the project.

“To my mind, opposition to the JRP Northern Gateway report, at this stage, is yet another case of NIMBY-ism: Not In My Backyard,” he said. “We should reflect on the fact that Kitimat would likely not be the community it is today if the NIMBYs of the Nechako watershed had their way.”

He said what he would support is having a discussion with Enbridge to talk about leak detection technologies.

Councillor Rob Goffinet meanwhile didn’t see the motion affecting neutrality.

“If we feel it’s prudent to quiz something about leak detection, that does not call into question the entire JRP or tips council’s hand to be for or against the project anymore than the JRP putting it into their 209 conditions are necessarily are coming out 100 per cent in favour of the project,” he said.

Corinne Scott also stood by Germuth’s motion.

“I think because the JRP is finished their report and recommended that it goes ahead that it behooves us to ensure that if it does get approval that we get any of our concerns in front of the federal government right away.”

With Empinado’s amendment, the new motion begins, “That the District of Kitimat meet with Enbridge to discuss installation of leak detection systems…”, removing the ‘require’ part of the motion.

Goffinet, Scott and Germuth voted against the amendment and later on the entire motion itself, but that left four in favour and it passed.

“It’s a motion consistent with the JRP process and it’s a motion I can support,” said Feldhoff of the final motion.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Image courtesy CDC
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kitamaat Village

Haisla Nation Council said there are two confirmed cases they are aware of at this time

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

The Kitimat River in July. (Clare Rayment photo)
Good News, Kitimat!

Bringing some local good news to your week

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Most Read