Kitimat mayor gets a view of oil sands in Alberta

A tour for Northwest government leaders showed them a bird's eye view of oil sands developments.

Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth says he sees the oil sands operations in Alberta in a new light, not ignoring there are ugly sides to the industry but can see the positive sides of it too.

Germuth, along with other Northwest mayors, flew over the oil sands on a tour sponsored by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The tour was organized in conjunction with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference in Edmonton from June 4 to 8. Germuth wasn’t formally part of that conference — tied up elsewhere in the Lower Mainland at another event — but councillor Mario Feldhoff represented Kitimat for the FCM. Germuth said the trip began with an aerial tour.

“Basically they flew us over all the different [open pit] oil sands sites, and we visited the actual drilling sites,” he said.

From there they visited Syncrude and Suncor sites, and had a sit down with the Fort McMurray mayor, whom Germuth said was immensely knowledgeable about all the issues that came from industrial development, which Kitimat experienced through the Rio Tinto Alcan modernization.

Germuth said the trip turned out a lot more educational than he was expecting from a tour hosted by the group representing the oil producers themselves.

“Going up I can admit I was a bit skeptical, thinking we were only going to see one side of it, only the really nice stuff,” said Germuth. “But I was very impressed with how honest they were on the whole tour.”

In some cases he says the oil sands are very much like the photos you occasionally see circulating on the Internet.

“The pictures you see on the Internet of this big, open, black pit and yeah, that’s what it looks like. No doubt about it,” he said.” And they admit that they do remediate…but that’s one area where they’re working very hard.”

He said all the companies in that area are focusing on improving remediation efforts.

Germuth said the tour also took them to remediated sites themselves.

“It was good to actually see it yourself. There is some ugly stuff…but there is also a lot of remediation.”

Overall the tour did raise his impression on oil sands.

“Definitely better than what I thought of before,” he says on his opinion on oil sands. “You had a really good perspective of what it’s really like over the whole, very large area. Yes, there is the open pits…but for miles and miles around you can see untouched land too.”

Germuth was not the only mayor from the area on the trip. Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc and Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain also took part.


Just Posted

Kitimat’s Water Quality Advisory, which has been in place for just over a week, has been lifted. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory in Kitimat lifted

The district has been under a Water Quality Advisory since June 2

On June 16 at 6 p.m., the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a public presentation and discussion with Happipad, a social enterprise, to talk about solutions for affordable housing Kitimat. (Happipad photo)
Affordable housing to be focus of Kitimat Chamber of Commerce meeting

Figures indicate the average Kitimat household needs to make more than $92,000 a year

(District of Kitimat logo)
Hirsch Creek Bridge restricted to single lane traffic

The district is restricting the bridge traffic to legal highway loads only

Artist’s illustration of the proposed Kitimat LNG facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat. (Kitimat LNG illustration)
Haisla Nation surprised by Woodside pull out from Kitimat LNG project

Haisla Nation council states its main focus is now on developing the Haisla-led Cedar LNG project

(Northern Health logo)
Pop-up vaccine clinic tomorrow at the Save-on-Foods parking lot in Kitimat

The clinic will be this Friday, June 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read