The city of Terrace now opposes the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project after a 5 – 2 vote during tonight’s Feb. 13 council meeting.
First, council voted to clear its former neutral position, paving the way to decide its stance anew. Then, each council member took a turn expressing their views, concerns, and the implications of a municipal body taking a stance. After, a majority voted to oppose the project 5 – 2.
Councillors James Cordeiro, who initiated the vote, Stacey Tyers, Marilyn Davies, Bruce Bidgood and Lynne Christiansen voted to oppose the project.
“I believe Terrace is open for business,” said Bidgood during the meeting. “It’s just not for sale at any price. “
Councillor Brian Downie and mayor Dave Pernarowski were defeated in their votes to stay neutral.
“I’m concerned how this affects investments in the community,” said Downie, adding that despite this he too has concerns about risks associated with the project. But Downie added that waiting until a formal review process to be complete means concern can be tempered with expert opinion.
He urged council to defer taking a stand until after evidence was heard from the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, the body tasked to assess project-related environmental information.
The motion put forth by Cordeiro involved declaring support for two 2010 UBCM motions which read, “B140 Opposing the shipping of tar sand oil in pipelines across northern BC for loading onto crude oil tankers and;
B139 opposing any expansion of bulk crude oil tanker traffic in Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, British Columbia.”
“When I looked at the resolution I was wondering whether these resolutions were really even relevant,” said Downie. “However, I understand the motivation.”
“It’s important as leaders in this community that we take a stand one way or the other,” said councillor Tyers, expressing opposition. “Just because … city councils in the province have not taken a stand doesn’t mean we stop being a progressive leader.”
“We all know I’m a free enterpriser,” said Davies. “(But) I just don’t see what’s in it for us.”
“The environmental risk for me is just way too high,” said Christiansen.
Pernarowski joined Downie in urging council to wait until a later date to take a stand, saying any official declaration at this point is premature.
However, he did note that personally, he has concerns about the project.
“I’m opposed, but as a municipal body representing this community… it puts us in a precarious position,” he said.
It is unclear what, if any, repercussions this stance will have on the city’s economic arm, the Terrace Economic Development Authority.
When asked, Pernarowski said he will have that discussion with TEDA tomorrow.