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CONTRIBUTION · 26th November 2009
Dieter Wagner
To The Editor
Dear Sir:

On Tuesday, 24 Nov. 2009, I learned from the Prince Rupert Daily News that Kitimat’s Mayor Ms. Joanne Monaghan stated that only a small minority of Kitimatians oppose the Enbridge Gateway Project. This is not what our information tells us. We also have some data from the communities in the Skeena watershed.

The City of Prince Rupert and the Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District supported the call for a public inquiry on 23 Nov. and 20 Nov. respectively. The Smithers City Council did as well.

I think our Mayor is trying to make mileage out of the Eurocan Mill closure by using misleading information coming from Enbridge. Mr. Roger Harris promised 150 permanent family supporting jobs for Kitimat and in the 18 Nov. Northern Sentinel Mr. John Caruthers, president of Northern Gateway, took out a full page ad promising approximately 200 jobs for Kitimat.

Where will these jobs be? I have watched a couple of times a young lady hooking up the pipes to a tanker at the Methanex operation and then monitor the pumps; maybe a couple of jobs maintaining the pumps. Do we have the skills here?

The ships are tied up by the crew once a couple of tugs have placed them. The tug boat operation has nothing to do with Enbridge. We do not know who will operate them and who the shippers will be.

I have asked in my letters before where the jobs are, but have never gotten an answer.

Maybe it is time for Mayor Monaghan to take off her rose colored glasses and look reality in the face.

As to ship safety, the president of the Canadian Pilot-age Association, Mr. Obermeyer said the spill chances from a crude oil tanker are nil and his colleague, Mr. Crysler, stated that “an oil tanker is one of the easiest ships to navigate, because everything is up to snuff”. I have never heard anything so ridiculous; however, there may be people like the Mayor of Kitimat who believe this.

We have had three major mishaps. Some years back an alumina ore carrier hit a reef in Caamano Sound. Approximately 2 years ago the Queen of the North ran into Gill Island and sank. Recently the freighter Petersfield ran straight into the shore of Douglas Channel. This was not the first incident for the Petersfield. A year or two after she was built she ran into the shore of the Mississippi river.

On 18 Nov. 2009 the huge bulk carrier Hebel Lion was anchored off Mayne Island near Saltspring Island in a storm. The anchor failed to hold and the ship was blown on to the rocky reef. It happened at low tide and tugs were able to pull her off at high tide.

What is significant about this incident is that neither the B.C. government nor the Canadian government informed the public. The story was brought to light by people monitoring their marine radios and reported it first to the Gulf Islands Driftwood.

To quote the Victoria Times Colonist: “That should add to concern about the government’s support for the Enbridge pipeline from Alberta’s Oilsands to Kitimat and the jump in tanker traffic as large ships transport the oil to Asia”.

Dieter Wagner for Douglas Channel Watch
49 Braun St.
Kitimat, B.C.
Tel.: 250-632-7293