KITIMAT VIEWS: Council’s best bet to move on after plebiscite

Council should take the community's cue after plebiscite and just set an official position after vote.

I was only gone for about nine days but my adventure to what some dub the “centre of the universe”  (Ontario) took me out of the routine and here I am almost overwhelmed with what has transpired in my absence.

But hey, while I’m on the subject may I thank Kitimat for its lack of overpasses, sensible highway structure (we only have one), and, even though I’ve never been its cheerleader in the past, its horseshoe residential street design.

Living in this rural northwest town you quickly realize on these visits that it’s we who live in the real world, not those who exist in Canada’s dense, urban sprawls.

But I digress.

Here, I find that after what was likely a torturous council meeting, councillors opted to stick to just one question on the April plebiscite on Northern Gateway. It’s perhaps the most sensible thing to come out of the entire exercise. I applaud them in not bogging down the vote with extra questions, many of them which could have referred to hypothetical situations.

Of course I shake my head that the question remains largely intact from when I left. I see through the minutes of the meeting that they had a lot of vocal feedback on the question with many saying it was confusing and more concise questions would be preferred.

Of course I wasn’t there to witness how the eventual debate transpired but the result is clear, and those comments from the public (and editorials in your local paper, if you don’t mind me adding) led to no real change on this matter.

But one thing really being missed by council is that this is the best time there is to create an opportunity to take a position on the pipeline.

That’s because with this vote they can set a community opinion while washing their hands of the whole matter.

All it would take is a promise that they’d create a motion after the vote to side with whichever side won.

I’ll help you out with the wording, “As per a community plebiscite held in April 2014, the community of Kitimat has declared their (support)(opposition) to the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.”

Well, the actual question covers a bit more than that so maybe the wording should be refined, but if councillors in Kitimat hope to somehow temper this divisive issue, going this route may be the best opportunity.

The town gets the vote, council truly lets the community decide, and if anyone whines it was the voters, not them, who set the policy.

Cameron Orr