Northern Gateway: avalanche dangers raised

Another council meeting, another anti-Enbridge presentation.

Another council meeting, another anti-Enbridge presentation.

The Douglas Channel Watch kept up its relentless pressure on city council over the proposed Northern Gateway project at the latter’s March 5 meeting.

This time it was Murray Minchin making the presentation and his focus was on the possibility of the pipelines being ruptured by an avalanche or rock fall.

He zeroed in on the upper Kitimat Valley, specifically the exit of the proposed tunnel through Nimbus Mountain into the Kitimat River valley as well as Holt and Hunter Creeks.

Minchin showed photos of the tunnel exit location saying the lack of mature trees suggested the area was regularly swept by avalanches.

Another photo showed “middle-aged hemlock” the tops of which had been sheared off.

On the subject of rock falls, he pointed out there was a rock bluff located 15 metres above the proposed tunnel portal and “you can clearly see the rock fall material on the forest floor.”

He also noted several more rock bluffs climbed the mountain above.

Minchin noted the proposed pipeline would make an aerial crossing of Holt Creek meaning it would be fully exposed to any rock falls and avalanches.

“Holt Creek would quickly deliver any spills into the Kitimat River,” he added.

Five kilometres downstream of where Holt Creek enters the Kitimat was the Hunter Creek Valley.

“Enbridge’s own avalanche consultant warned that massive avalanches in this valley could dam the creek,” Minchin pointed out.

The water would back up until it cut through the snow dam “unleashing a flash flood” which Minchin said could rupture the pipelines even when buried 12 feet below the creek.

He also told council that in the 1980s debris had built up under the old Hunter Creek bridge – it was subsequently washed away in a flood – diverting the creek that then tore out 500 metres of logging road.

And that Enbridge proposed its pipeline would parallel that same road.

Earlier in his presentation Minchin had noted, “Enbridge admits in their proposal to the JRP (Joint Review Panel) that two million litres (of bitumen) could spill into the upper Kitimat River.”

While the documentation said employees at the tank farm would respond to such a spill, along with local contractors, and be able to find and contain the spill in four hours, he said Enbridge had also said such a spill would reach the estuary in those same four hours.

In the event of such a spill – which he said Enbridge admits could close the sport fishery for as much as four years – Minchin asked, “Where would Kitimat get its water?”

He asked mayor and council to organise another public forum with speakers representing the Haisla, Enbridge and an environmental group.

Minchin said a number of disturbing issues had come to light since the last forum and “Kitimat deserves to have as much information as possible before deciding on this project.”

Commenting on the presentation, councillor Phil Germuth said, “Obviously any threat to our drinking water needs to be looked at very seriously.”

He also asked Minchin if he was aware of Enbridge having looked at an alternative route that would avoid the Kitimat Valley.

Minchin said he was not.

And in response to a question from councillor Rob Goffinet, Minchin said this presentation – “and more” – had been submitted to the JRP as written evidence and could be found on its website.

Although council did not commit to another forum, at its following meeting councillor Mario Feldhoff moved that Enbridge be invited to make a presentation to council addressing the issues raised by Minchin.

Noting they were important issues, Feldhoff said it would be “only appropriate” for Enbridge to be given an opportunity to – “and should” – respond to them.

He suggested the community would benefit from hearing what the company had to say.

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Just Posted

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Hirsch Creek Golf Course Volunteer, Augie Penner, talking about how he continues the tradition, set by Joe Atamchuck, to catch and release fry that keep spawning at the course. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
VIDEO: Kitimat golf course volunteers making moves for the fishlings

During the highwater season, salmon are known to lay their eggs in the ponds at the golf course

Ocean Wise’s cetacean photogrammetry research program uses aerial images collected by boat-launched drones to measure the body condition of whales. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal License MML-18 photo)
LNG Canada commits $750K to whale research, conservation initiative

Ocean Wise education team will work alongside educational and Indigenous leaders in the area

The Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be closed from June 28 until September 13 for annual facility maintenance as well as teach pool and decking repairs. (Black Press photo)
Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre closed: June 28 – September 13

The aquatic centre will be closed for annual facility maintenance

Shoes are being left at the viewpoint on Haisla Blvd in response to the 215 bodies discovered at the Kamloops Residential School. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Haisla Nation responds to 215 Indigenous children found buried at the site of Kamloops Indian Residential School

“Many Haisla children were sent far away, to places such as Port Alberni, and to Coqualeetza”

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Dr. Réka Gustafson, who is British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on April 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. public health officials prepare to manage COVID-19 differently in the future

Flu-like? Health officials anticipate shift from pandemic to communicable disease control strategies

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Camper the dog was found Wednesday night by someone walking their own dog along Hollywood Crescent. She had gone missing after a violent attack on June 11. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Camper the dog found safe after fleeing violent van attack in Victoria

Young dog was missing for almost a week after incident

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

Most Read