Who needs Kitimat anyway?

Cameron Orr weighs in on the idea of the JRP not coming back to Kitimat.

On May 30 there will be a procedural conference regarding how the JRP will address the final stages of the review of the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal.

What they’ll seek to figure out is who will ask what and where.

It seemed a given that Kitimat would be included in that process. We are, after all, the end of the pipeline route, a fairly important point for the whole thing.

So imagine the surprise when Kitimat was not a proposed location for the questioning phase or the final argument phase.

It’s not that they’re forgetting the Northwest. Prince Rupert is set to get the panel. Prince George, too, will see them. (There is a question whether it’s Calgary or Edmonton for the third spot.)

Among the issues that Prince Rupert apparently can claim to the project is environmental effects and socioeconomic effects, as well as safety and accident prevention. Naturally nothing Kitimat would be concerned with. We’re just the location of the marine terminal, at the western end of the pipeline.

As an aside, it’s interesting there’s a question between Edmonton and Calgary for Alberta’s hearings, seeing as the source of the pipeline, in Bruderheim, is far closer to Edmonton than Calgary.

Now the argument is that facility and transportation availability are adequate in those places. Yet the start of the whole process with oral evidence in Kitamaat Village seemed to go well, and there is the Riverlodge as another possible venue.

Transportation also shouldn’t be an issue. Terrace-Kitimat has a well serviced airport with regular transit to and from Kitimat. It’s only a short drive and car rental facilities are available.

Granted, they are correct in implying — by means of not selecting Kitimat — that it isn’t centrally located.  We are at the end of the road, as it were.

But we’re also the place the company wants to ship the product from. We may be out of the way, but we’re fairly crucial to the whole enterprise.

It would be nice to have that fact recognized with future hearings.

Cameron Orr is the editor of the Kitimat Northern Sentinel