Board members of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine (RDKS) will be voting about whether or not to support Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline project September 21.
This came after a surprise motion was introduced at the end of the last RDKS meeting August 10 by elected board member David Brocklebank, who represents the Telegraph Creek electoral district.
The motion, which asked board members whether or not to “oppose Enbridge” came as a surprise as Brocklebank brought it up at the meeting’s end without first giving notice to other board members.
It was delayed by city councillor and RDKS director Bruce Bidgood, who said he feared the motion’s meaning would be lost upon a convoluted conversation that followed.
“I just felt it was time we made our position known, one way or the other, even if it is to remain neutral.” said Brocklebank about why he chose to spring the motion on fellow directors.
Bidgood, who had a hand in crafting a motion for Terrace’s city council with a similar intent, said he tabled it until the next meeting because he feared it would be voted out on a technicality.
“Sometimes the fastest way to kill a very good motion” is by not being clear about the message being sent with that motion, he said.
Brocklebank said the motion may need to be amended and the directors need to get the opinions of their constituents before voting on it.
Back in April, the regional district board received a letter from the Wet’suet’en First Nation asking the board to take a stand against the pipeline, he explained.
The letter was received for information only so the board could evaluate how it wanted to vote on the issue, he said.
In the May and June board meetings, other issues came up that took priority so Brocklebank brought the motion up unannounced at the next possible board meeting, which was in August – there was no July regional district meeting.
Now that the motion is made, it will be on the agenda and Brocklebank will submit an explanation about it that he wants put on the agenda so the other directors can read it before the September meeting, he said.
When the motion comes up for debate at the meeting next month, Brocklebank can move for an amendment to it, if someone else seconds it, he added.
“I will tell you my amendment is we encourage Enbridge to look at alternatives, “ said Brocklebank.
“The Northern Gateway bitumen pipeline is what really upsets me with what could happen to our environment.”
Enbridge’s safety record lately isn’t that great, he added.
“Things seem to be falling apart in their pipeline system and I’d hate to see that happen in a new pipeline 20 years from now,” said Brocklebank.
“If it breaks, it affects the whole northwest, not one particular area,” he said, adding that a pipeline rupture would send bitumen into the Nechako system and would go all the way down the Fraser River to Vancouver.