REPORTING · 15th November 2010
The first question from the floor came from Myrtle Prett. She stated one of the candidate’s pamphlets explained Kitimat had no land to attract businesses and wanted to know how this could be overcome:
Mary Murphy replied there was a fibre basket with large amounts of land. In addition, there was an industrial site separated from the town site. She was uncertain where there were no opportunities.
Corinne Scott said she looked into this as she wanted to see industry here as well. She found a potential 128,812 acres with 1,124 acres in the harbour, 5061 acres without port access and 319 acres of land in the business park. She felt this was more then enough land.
Linda Campbell said the statement related to land in the vicinity of Rio Tinto Alcan which were based for industry. She said two refineries at 500 jobs a piece wished to come to Kitimat but Rio Tinto Alcan would not allow land to be sold due to problems with the air quality. She said if there are industrial opportunities, the community would have to convince RTA to sell the land.
Michelle DeLisser said it was a lack of Council and community working together to welcome and develop industries who want to come into the community.
Edwin Empinado agreed with DeLisser but suggested Council buy more lands.
Debby Rauhanen agreed with DeLisser, the people needed to work together.
Comment by Jeremy dos Santos on 19th November 2010
Until we understand our unique dis-advantages as a town, we will always seek change in council, set the bar to high and complain about councils inevitable failure to produce a large scale employer. Our councillors are well intentioned ordinary people faced with extraordinary limitations in what they can and cannot achieve. My concern is that no one, with the exception of Mrs.Campbell, discusses the land issue in Kitimat, because they are afraid to offend the hyper-sensitive Alcan lobby. I'm sorry, but Kitimat is in a critical condition and if people can't handle the truth, then get out the way. Critical self-examination has always been Kitimat's weakness, for we are so fundamentally tied and related to Alcan, that to investigate, probe and assess our composition treads on a hyper-sensitive nervous system. Dig too deep in one area of Kitimat's reality and you strike a nerve in Alcan's nervous system. Objectivity in such a sensitive community is nearly impossible until we learn to disassociate ourselves from our primary employer and think for ourselves. Are we Kitimat or are we the Aluminum City? I fear that most Kitimatians are not even prepared at this time to even engage so sensitive a subject. Despite our reluctance to contemplate the hard facts of our reality, you will always have courageous individuals who will speak our truth without fear. Those persons will always be maligned and smeared for doing their duty, but justice is a universal principle and the truth-teller will in the end be vindicated.
Mr.Forward I called the candidates "a sorry lot" for the simple reason that they are not fit to represent the community until such time that they learn to speak freely, free from pretentious posturing. I thought I was going to attend a debate, but midway through I thought I was at a Rio Tinto shareholders convention. The resounding answer to all of our problems were summarised as "be nice to RTA and RTA will be nice to us!" Is that what constitutes as intelligent strategy in 2010. Deference and so-called "positivity" has been tried and tried again but to no avail. Most in the audience that evening found the Rio Tinto worship to be quite satisfying but that only speaks to our conditioning as paternal subjects. I respect the other candidates for coming forward as it takes allot of courage and each of them have excellent qualities, but their obsequiousness when faced with difficult questions are not what we need as a struggling community. What we need is leadership, a leadership that is not afraid to speak the truth and to challenge us to do for ourselves. This attitude of deference to Alcan in all issues relative to our reality is contrary to nature, reason, and common sense. Certainly we must endeavour to have a healthy working relationship with our foremost employer, but to defer to RTA in all thing is irresponsible and foolish.
Sorry for taking so long to respond Mr.Forward, but a public servants job is never done. I'll try to respond as quickly as time permits.
Thank you once again for your response.
Comment by Jeremy dos Santos on 19th November 2010
The people of Kitimat say that they want "change", they say "we need change." They say the vehicle(Council) is not being driven properly, but the reality is we need an engine-rebuild. Rather then lift the hood and get our hands dirty, it's easier to change the paint colour every few years and pretend that the vehicle passes inspection. In my humble estimation, we as a community are very politically immature and extremely unsophisticated as problem solvers. Kitimat has had it so good for so long, as a dependent on Alcan, that we never learned to deal with adversity and overcome it. As a community we have been morally, socially, politically and economically handicapped through our total dependence on Alcan. Our culture of dependency has ill-prepared us to do for ourselves and it was a welcome breath of fresh air to hear Mrs.Campbell as the only candidate asking us to do for ourselves. The other candidates constant deference to Alcan may have pleased the crowd, but that nonsense is counter-productive in 2010.
It should come as no surprise that when Linda Campbell read her opening statement a loud collective gasp came from the audience. When Mrs Campbell said;
"For far too long, we have been dependent on the vision and direction, of interests and powers who do not have our best interests at heart. We have suffered a continued degradation, to the point that we fear to speak the truth. We fear the consequences of truth, and because of this we have become slaves to that fear.
In Kitimat, if you want to lose, just be an advocate for Kitimat! If you want to win, with the power brokers, let them manipulate you, and soon they will have you turning your back on those out whose ranks you came.
In the past, I have been known to take a strong position on critical issues, and my detractors seek to exploit that virtue. As a matter of fact, they are your detractors as well. Kitimat from the early days has always been about status or the lack thereof, and there has always been an element of Kitimat high-society that fears, anyone, that will rock the status-quo. If what you seek is change and the change your are seeking is someone who "goes along to get along", then any of these will do, because I am not that one. I will not apologize for defending you and putting Kitimat First, for it is better to be disliked for who you are, than to be loved for who you are not."
The audience did not like what they heard simply because it was the truth, and the truth ofttimes can hurt. Mrs.Scott's' cheer-leading team that was present was most upset and snide remarks directed at Mrs.Campbell could be heard throughout the remainder of the evening. Malcolm X once said that "if you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that hollers, is that one that got hit." That evening quite a few people got hit. The day of political sensitivity is over, we need a heavy dose of truth if we are ever going to break our dependency.
Comment by Jeremy dos Santos on 19th November 2010
Mr.Forward thank you for your replies and I appreciate your comments.
"No Land to offer" is a euphemism, or a more gentle substitute for what really needs to be declared.
You must understand Mr.Forward the expression "no land to offer", is not to suggest that we have no land at all. The truth is we(D.O.K.) have so very little and next to none of it is suitable for industrial development, the kind that everyone in town seems to want, the kind that could accommodate a large-scale employer.
Acreage means absolutely nothing if the land does not meet certain requirements for industrial development. Whether it is environmentally sensitive land, agricultural reserve, dangerously steep grade, etc, all are limiting factors on what Kitimat and industry can and can not use. Neither of us are experts in the field as you so humbly admitted, but I'm sure you can see Kitimat's predicament.
Kitimat was destined to be the port hub of the Northwest but Charles Melville Hays had other plans. His tremendous influence and wealth gave Prince Rupert a Federal and international standing that has made Kitimat an afterthought ever since. Kitimat has been virtually invisible from a Federal perspective, and Provincially we have been the province of Alcan and based on public preference it seems we will always be. I appreciate you providing those numbers from the Investment Profile, however it is dangerous to extrapolate directly from the numbers without a knowledge of the topographical nature of the land. Mr.Forward, if you would seek out a physical copy of the District of Kitimat Community Plan attached are some wonderful maps which will further illustrate our landlessness. (If you can't get your hands on one, let me know and I'll lend you my copy).
One must also be cognizant of the fact that Alcan never wanted us to have a substantial land holding, so that we would always be dependent. The fact that we never built a City Hall building bears witness to that history of dependency. I'm sure the aforementioned statement will upset the Alcan lobby, but industrial paternalism was and is the root of this town and that relationship fashions our reality to this day. Please understand Mr.Forward that Linda Campbell introduced the "land" issue simply to get people talking, to make people mindful of a subject that has heretofore been swept under the rug. Most political campaigns are run only to elicit votes and there are others that are designed to make people think. It's not about winning, Linda wants us to think!
Nice to know someone is following up.
Comment by Daniel Carter on 16th November 2010
Thank you Mike Forward for stating some facts that had some actual merit. Many others rant without having dialog to guide them. Some should do their homework before they post rather than with a misguided instinct. May the best candidate win. Hats off to all of them for giving Kitimat their best.
Comment by Mike Forward on 16th November 2010
In addition; Mr. Dos Santos inspired me to look into the matter of "the land" myself, as it took me by surprise during the debate as well as again here. Now I fully admit this is not even remotely close to my area of expertise and therefore I could be completely off base in how I am interpreting what I am reading.
This comes from the Investment Community Profile available on the District of Kitimat's website at www.kitimat.ca. More specifically, the link to the profile is: http://www.kitimat.ca/assets/Business/PDFs/Kitimat%20-%20Investment-Ready%20Community%20Profile%20(standard).pdf
On page 26 under Section 6 for Industrial Land Use, a few columns are outlined, namely Land Zoned and Vacant Land Zoned. If I take the Industrial Vacant Land Zoned to be land that is available from the District for Industrial use, it breaks down as follows:
Acres Fully Serviced - 248 acres
Acres Partially Serviced - 5,023 acres
Acres Non-Serviced - 2,039 acres
It further lists 3 Industrial Parks with a total of 79,075 acres of which only 9,285 acres are presently in use. 365 vacant acres are fully serviced, 5,464 acres are partially serviced and 63,921 acres are non serviced.
Page 27 of the guide also points out the following re: Industrial Land:
"Extensive land is available to the west of the Kitimat River. The port area consists 0f 16km of useable waterfront. Kitimat's municipal area is comprised of 79,543 acres/39,190 hecatres of industrial land to accomodate manufacturing and international trade developments. The port area consists of 16 km of useable waterfront with industrial zoned lands comprising of 8,608 acres/3,484 hecatres. Of this, only 900 acres/400 hectares are developed. There are 5,023 acres/2,032 hectares potentially serviced and 2,309 acres/935 hectares unserviced."
Now I'm not sure if all that parlays into the numbers Mrs. Scott provided, but it certainly seems we have more than nothing as Mrs. Campbell stated. Again, her quote in her brochure was:
""We have always been economically isolated. Every community that's looking to grow, expand and assert it's independence needs land. We have none!"
This statement(again, if I am interpreting these documents correctly which I am firmly open to the concept that I am wrong) is not true. I find it more likely(as Mrs. Campbell clarified) that there are some prime locations owned by RTA that could be had, if RTA is open to the idea of selling it or allowing it to be had. In either case, I think this is a situation where both the candidates were somewhat correct and both the candidates were somewhat incorrect.
Although again, this is way out of my realm of knowledge and I could be reading this wrong.
Comment by Mike Forward on 16th November 2010
Mr. Dos Santos, you raise some interesting points. I would actually be keenly interested in seeing the fine print as to who owns what land, as I do not think either Mrs. Campbell or Mrs. Scott was 100% correct with their statements(Mrs. Campbell stating we have no land to offer, and Mrs. Scott stating that we have an abundance).
Al Smith, I am assuming, was the gentleman(I use the term loosely) who got up to the microphone and proceeded to fire a salvo at Mrs. Campbell partway through the debate. If I am not mistaken, he immediately removed himself and the question was disregarded by the moderator, Mr. Meier. I think it was clear to everyone there that the rules of decorum had been violated, but as he removed himself there wasn't exactly a need for an outcry? It would only have served to derail the debate at that point.
The only things I take major umbridge with in your statement; I do not agree whatsoever that that was a "sorry lot of candidates". There was a variety of differing viewpoints and ideologies on stage and I think that made for several insightful points in the evening. That you clearly feel Mrs. Campbell was, is and should be the best candidate is fine. Just because others may disagree does not make what they have to say "blather".
I am also puzzled as to what me being Rob Goffinet's son-in-law has to do with anything? Oh, that's right...it doesn't.
Comment by Jeremy dos Santos on 16th November 2010
Half of the questions were setup and prearranged with the purpose to mock and distort Mrs. Campbell's platform as presented in her pamphlet. It is no surprise that Mrs.Scott was prepared with a written response which she used to confuse the issue.
Mrs. Campbell's pamphlet states and I quote "We have always been economically isolated. Every community that's looking to grow, expand and assert it's independence needs land. We have none! Thus our growth strategy must first begin by partnering and petitioning Rio Tinto Alcan to share some industrial land that we can then offer to new industry. Without it we have nothing to offer.
Who is the "we" Mrs.Campbell is referring to? It is the District of Kitimat! If I understand correctly, these candidates are seeking a position as Councillor responsible for the District of Kitimat are they not?
Mrs.Scott did you really think just because your friends and supporters are silly enough to fall for that nonsense, that the rest of us don't know what's up?
Mrs.Corinne Scott has stated many times in her literature and ads that she is "FULLY aware of Kitimat's UNIQUE ADVANTAGES", but what she won't tell you is that of all the candidates Linda Campbell is the only candidate FULLY aware of both our unique advantages and unique DIS-advantages!
Mrs.Scott, you can spit out geographical dimensions for the valley, the mountains the water, etc all the day long, but what needs to be asked in the public sphere is this..."How much land do YOU as a Councillor have to offer business? The rest is immaterial!
You can welcome business all you want, City Councils have been doing that for decades, but without land of our own we are at the mercy of Provincial, Federal, Environmental and Corporate powers. We have to be realistic and set realistic expectations for our Councillors.
Rio Tinto owns the vast majority of the District of Kitimat, while some land is owned by the Regional District, Eurocan, Methanex, the Haisla Nation, Jack Oviatt, The Crown, etc but how much do "We" have?
That's right we've got nothing, but of course Mrs.Scott you don't care about that do you, you merely wanted to play politics, disrespect an 18 year Kitimat public servant and try to cover up the fact that your pamphlets and ads speak nothing of critical issues nor offer any solutions.
Ma'am, you've got no platform to speak of!
All you offer is an assortment of out of date personal photos and your Curriculum Vitae. That's all you got? Instead of hating on Mrs.Campbell's platform, you should be thankful that she has one; because that sorry lot of candidates would of had nothing to discuss that evening were it not for Mrs.Campbell's pamphlet.
Please, let us never refer to what transpired that evening as a debate. It was nothing of the sort. It was a free-for-all of disrespect and indecency with a host of sordid characters asking questions, from the paragon of morality Mr.Dumstrey-Soos to the despicable Al Smith with his obnoxious behavior. The hypocrisy of the crowd is duly noted as they all seem to clamor for an end to so-called "dysfunction" but no-one objected to Al Smiths indecent tirades. Not to mention the fact that the audience was NOT a cross section of the community, rather it was a collection of cheerleading teams.
I was embarrassed for Kitimat. Sorry, but someone had to say it!
Anyway, countdown to the obligatory blather by Brenda Mitchell and Mr.Goffinet's son -in law Mike Forward. 188.8.131.52.1.....