After the Mayflower spill, make our voices heard
Over the past year, we have applauded several municipalities who have taken leadership and passed resolutions against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project and the introduction of hundreds of oil tankers to British Columbia’s North Coast. Along the proposed route, the communities of Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Fort St. James, Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District, Kitimat-Stikine Regional District, and four communities on Haida Gwaii have all passed resolutions against the Northern Gateway proposal. Other BC communities that have done the same include Nelson, North Saanich, Gabriola and other Gulf Islands.
Today, the Union of BC Municipalities passed a significant resolution that recognizes the concerns of First Nations and communities, and opposes the expansion of all oil tanker traffic on BC’s coast. This is a huge victory to the coast. It not only applies to Enbridge Northern Gateway’s proposal, but also to Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline expansion, CN’s “pipeline on rails”, and future projects that would threaten our coast and wild salmon with oil spills.
ForestEthics Advocacy put out an ad in the Times Colonist and on bus shelters near the Victoria convention to “Thank all municipalities and political leaders who have stood up for our coast.” Our allies such as Dogwood, West Coast Environmental Law and the Pembina Institute were also at the convention engaging with Mayors and Councillors about the motion.
While municipalities don’t have jurisdiction over pipelines and tankers, they are a formidable voice that can strongly lobby the provincial government to do the right thing, and they have sent a strong message to the pipeline companies and Federal Government. Despite the close vote, we’re encouraged by the leadership and power of our local governments to stand up and work with us to protect the communities, cultures, economies, and ecological diversity of BC’s coast.
A big thank-you to all of those Mayors and Councillors who voted yes today!
The successful motion put forward by Saanich, dubbed “A8” reads as follows:
WHEREAS a crude oil spill would have devastating and long lasting effects on British Columbia’s unique and diverse coast, which provides critical marine habitat and marine resources that sustain the social, cultural, environmental and economic health of coastal and First Nations communities;
AND WHEREAS citizens of British Columbia, particularly those living in coastal communities, and First Nations communities and environmental groups have expressed well-founded concerns over the expansion of oil pipelines and oil tankers:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM oppose projects that would lead to the expansion of oil tanker traffic through BC’s coastal waters;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UBCM urge the Premier of British Columbia, the Leader of the Official Opposition and members of the Legislative Assembly to use whatever legislative and administrative means that are available to stop the expansion of oil tanker traffic through BC’s coastal waters.