RCMP say they’ll be keeping an eye on the Feb. 1 Enbridge public meeting here.
The session, co-hosted by the City of Terrace, the Terrace Economic Development Authority and the Kitimat-Terrace and District Labour Council, could be a template for meetings held in other communities concerning the company’s plan to build a $5.5 billion pipeline carrying oil from Alberta to a marine export terminal at Kitimat.
Enbridge officials have spoken at sessions it has organized, at sessions hosted by specific groups for specific audiences and at regularly-scheduled sessions of local governments but not in a format as planned here.
The pipeline plan has been met with stiff opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups leading to protests, demonstrations and marches in mainly large cities.
Four people, including an Enbridge official, will speak at the meeting.
An earlier meeting invitation issued by the city was rejected by the company, saying it was worried there would be disruptions by people in the audience. Company officials now say they’ve been given assurances of an orderly meeting.
“We expect a smooth event but will monitor it,” said Terrace RCMP Inspector Eric Stubbs. He did add Enbridge did not ask for a police presence.
“Anytime there is a public event where a large group of people will be present, we will have some level of presence,” said Stubbs.
He listed Riverboat Days events, Hockeyville events and public dances as examples. Police will also be present where protests are possible, Stubbs added.
The last time there was a large public presence at an event regarding a controversial economic development was in July 2008 when Shell Canada held an open house at the Elks lodge to outline its plans to drill for coalbed methane natural gas in the Klappan.
That resulted in a march to the location with RCMP officers controlling traffic and being stationed inside the lodge.
The four people speaking Feb. 1 are Kitsumkalum treaty negotiator Gerald Wesley, Dawson Creek mayor Mike Bernier, former Pembina Institute policy analyst Greg Brown and Morgan Yates from Enbridge.
Each will speak for 15 minutes and there will be an hour-long question and answer period. The session begins at 7 p.m. at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre.