After over an hour of debate and discussion Kitimat Council settled on officially opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines proposal.
The motion reads “That Mayor and Council support the results of the April 12th plebiscite by adopting a position of being opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.”
The original motion as presented by Phil Germuth was actually slightly longer and worded as “That Mayor and Council support the results of the April 12th plebiscite, the Haisla, and our neighbouring communities, by adopting a position of being opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.”
With councillors Corinne Scott and Mary Murphy absent for the meeting, the motion passed 4-1, with Edwin Empinado the sole opponent to the motion supported by Germuth, Mario Feldhoff, Mayor Joanne Monaghan and Rob Goffinet.
Empinado’s opposing vote however didn’t seem to be a statement against the project itself but he had lingering questions he couldn’t get answered at the meeting, and was concerned about the future ability of the town to still work with the company if the project eventually proceeds.
Empinado said that he wants to town to take a position that will allow them to protect the environment while still giving them the ability to work with the company to protect their interests.
Monaghan said the motion, pre-amended, which included references to neighbouring communities, was among the hardest in her political career.
“The motion that’s before us goes far beyond the original motion of supporting the plebiscite. Therefore I feel I cannot vote in favour of this motion as it includes, for instance, Terrace, who voted against this project but who now want to join us in the refinery situation by having a tax [share].”
Germuth expressed disappointment that the motion was picked apart as it was, but agreed to a friendly amendment from Feldhoff to get it to its final wording in order to get consensus from the council.
In speaking to his motion Germuth emphasized Kitimat’s ongoing and past support of industrial development.
“Kitimat has always supported industry. “This [project] just crossed the line in that risk and benefit was weighted to be way too much on the risk side,” he said.
The motion, he added, won’t close the door to speaking to proponents in the future, including even with Enbridge themselves.