Hold on

Local coalition doesn't want area to turn into "Fort McTerrace"

By Gerald Amos, Greg Knox, and Des Nobles

The cleanest LNG in the world,” and “100,000 new jobs.”

These are among the many promises being made by government and industry about the benefits of LNG development.

There is strong support for LNG development from some First Nations who–despite being fiercely opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project–are determined to address the chronic issues of poverty in their communities. Other First Nations have refused permission for any type of pipeline to cross their lands.

Some folks don’t want Terrace transformed into a Fort McMurray, while others are simply trying to get by and welcome the economic boom we are in. Most in the Northwest understand that successful major resource development is never as easy as a press release by a prime minister, premier or cabinet minister.

While our region has witnessed dozens of developments proposed and subsequently abandoned over the decades, we’ve never faced a push for major resource development quite so complex and challenging to understand as LNG.

In fact, there are so many proposed projects that it’s impossible to keep track–it is overwhelming and difficult to fully understand their merits and impacts.

It was easy to see that coal bed methane development in the headwaters of three major salmon rivers was simply a stupid idea, and almost all of us understand the risks of oil tankers on our coast–that the promises from Enbridge are empty beyond belief.

We were adamant about fish farms, because we saw that farmed salmon and wild salmon in the same waters led to horrific consequences around the world. We live here because of family and heritage, the wonderful richness of life in a small community, and the overwhelming physical beauty of mountain towns and wild salmon rivers.

But the economic issues we’ve faced regionally, as smelter jobs disappeared and the forest industry nosedived, are all too recent memories. It’s hard to appreciate the river, mountains and salmon when you’re worried about taking care of your family.

But if this were just about jobs and not about any of these other values that most of us share, then it’s really not that far to travel to Fort McMurray.

We need to figure this LNG thing out. We know there are questions about LNG that aren’t being asked or answered, and many folks, supporters and opponents, are troubled about the sheer pace and scale of what is being proposed.

There are serious questions about air quality, greenhouse gasses, increases in tanker traffic, First Nation’s rights and title issues, and social issues that haven’t been answered.

Local health care experts, legal professionals and frontline workers are already worried about rapidly increasing social problems associated with the present boom.

We’re starting to understand that boom times bring drugs, violence (usually against women) and crime.

And when asking these questions, who do you believe, those that seem to be against any development, or the multinational energy companies whose purpose is to generate even more billions of dollars in profits?

As welcome as the present economic boom is, there is an increasing realization that these are issues that need to be addressed if the northwest is going to remain the incredible place to live that it is.

Increasingly we realize, and insist, that development projects must be examined cumulatively and not in isolation of each other, and that these considerations have to extend beyond just the environmental risks.

We need to talk about how much development is enough. What’s going to happen to the air we breathe? Are there consequences for wild salmon and water quality? How much natural gas do we want to leave for future generations in B.C.? What about fracking? What are the climate change impacts and where do our responsibilities lie? Is it really 100,000 jobs? Who gets those jobs? Do we really want to live in Fort McTerrace?

And most importantly, who gets to choose what kind of community we live in, the Chamber of Commerce, Malaysia’s state owned gas company or the people who live here?

To that end, residents of this region will be asking these questions over the coming months. We don’t presume to know all the answers to these questions, but we are going to try hard to present factual and unbiased information and provide a place where we can have a community conversation about these issues.

If we fail to do that – to be fair and balanced in presenting information – we expect to be held to account.

But we know that the quality of life in this region is worth talking about and protecting.

We know most people’s value systems extend beyond just money. Politicians and industry have not presented a balanced approach to these issues, so we, as citizens, need to do this on our own.

It’s our right, but more importantly, it’s our responsibility.

Signed on behalf of Friends of Wild Salmon by Gerald Amos, Kitamaat; Greg Knox, Terrace; Des Nobles, Prince Rupert. Friends of Wild Salmon is a coalition of community organizations, First Nations, commercial fishermen and anglers working to protect Skeena wild salmon.

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

UPDATE: missing 12-year-old Terrace boy found safe

Was reported missing on Southside around 10 p.m. July 9

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read