Council should stay neutral on Enbridge

City opposition to the Enbridge project sends entirely the wrong message to the business world that we have been trying to attract.

Dear Sir:

Lael McKeown raises some very good points in her Feb. 1, 2012 letter to the editor concerning city council’s upcoming discussion to revisit its position to remain neutral on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline plan.

For the City of Terrace to come out completely opposed to the Enbridge project at this time sends entirely the wrong message to the very same business world that we have been trying to attract to our region.

People have been trying to reduce our reliance on the forest industry and move away from being a “mill town” for many years. Now, by forcing this premature and possibly ill-advised stand, we are risking undoing all or most of that work.

Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion on Enbridge and they are equally entitled to share those opinions with whomever they choose whether publicly or privately.

By publicly stating, as an elected body, “yes, we’d like economic investment and development, BUT, we don’t want to hear the facts on this one”, then what I think you risk saying to the outside world is that you are a backwoods and insular business environment and not open to serious consideration.

Regardless, in the final decision, any declaration of support or non support from the City of Terrace is strictly symbolic.

There are a significant number of questions being asked of Enbridge and a lot of people, even the most normally pro development people, are asking hard questions before deciding whether or not to personally support this project.

These questions need to be asked, and answered in a rational, fact based environment. Name calling and hysteria do not serve either side in coming to a final decision. I remind you that we just finished an election, and the mayoral candidate most opposed to Enbridge was soundly defeated by the one who supported neutrality on the project.

With so many proposed developments, there is also the risk of “protest cross contamination” and confusion between projects. We have now seen “press releases” condemning the planning and construction of the “Enbridge LNG” pipeline across traditional territory.

Of course, there is no “Enbridge LNG” pipeline and quoting the Vancouver Sun we find that  “First nations are on side as well. The Haisla supplied the land for the terminal at Bish Cove and have taken a partnership position. The pipeline is backed by a consortium of 15 first nations, who have assumed an equity stake and stand to share half a billion dollars in revenues over 25 years.”  But hey, let’s not let facts get in the way of a good protest.

In summary, I completely agree that people are entitled to their own opinions; it’s one of the hallmarks and benefits of working and living in a democratic society. But taking a stance without all the facts doesn’t benefit anyone. It may be also be counterproductive for the City of Terrace, as an entity, to take a stance to any project that doesn’t even come through its jurisdiction. Making this, or any other, decision, based on who makes the most noise accomplishes nothing.

I would urge council to expend its efforts in other areas where it can make a difference in the lives of its taxpayers and leave the declarations of either support, or non-support to the individual councilors.

Steve Smyth, Terrace BC