Terrace city council will debate its stance on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline project at tonight’s city council meeting.
First, council will have to vote to wipe clean its current neutral stance, clearing the way to re-decide its public opinion of the project.
If that vote goes through, rookie councillor James Cordeiro will ask fellow councillors to declare opposition to the pipeline project by opposing any project which might bring tar sands oil either by pipeline or tanker through northern B.C. or its coast.
“The number of people that have submitted documents forwarded to me and the city has been overwhelmingly in favour of the motion,” said Cordeiro. “It’s certainly more than 10 to one.”
City staff confirmed that of 35 letters, e-mails and talkback line comments the city has received about the pipeline project, only one encourages the city to remain neutral.
Adding to that one, Terrace’s Economic Development Authority, the city’s economic arm, has urged the city to remain neutral in its stance.
“I am very concerned that council may make a decision to change the official position on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project,” wrote TEDA chair Rob Dykman. “As a board, we believe it is in the best interest of the city to stay neutral.
“Taking a stance of non-suport tells potential investors and business owners that Terrace is not supportive of business.
“Many of the service providers and suppliers of natural gas that we will be working hard to attract also serve the oil industry.”
The letter continued that the environmental assessment process is not yet complete for the project.
“It is important to send a message that we support new business even if they have not completed the environmental assessment process,” wrote Dykman. “This goes for mining and oil and gas industries.”
Cordeiro said his position on the project hasn’t changed despite hearing arguments for neutrality or in favour of the project.
“There’s an argument made to stay neutral because we should wait until the joint review panel to complete its work,” he continued, adding those who favour neutrality are generally in support of the project.
“I would submit that if there’s enough information to decide to be in favour of the project, there’s enough information to take up the opposite decision,” he said.
City staff said that while the motion is currently slated to come forward nearer the meeting’s end, there is talk of moving the topic to the front of a very long line-up of topics to be covered tonight.
Tonight’s meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall.
The meeting can be viewed online, live, at www.terracestandard.com through the City of Terrace website.