REPORTING · 9th February 2011
In December 2010, Councillor Randy Halyk announced he was no longer interested in attending the Enbridge Community Advisory Board (CAB) Meetings, and on January 17th, he made a motion for Council to sever the ties from the CAB.
Halyk’s motion stated CAB should consist of a balanced group of community stakeholders and the Enbridge CAB does not represent a fair cross section of the community and is interested in furthering their own agendas rather than those of the community at large.
“Enbridge has tried to come up with a great program. I think it would be good if it were really balanced. They went through a long procedure to determine how this community advisory board should work and I was instrumental, as were many other people within the CAB, as to how we should organize this so it was fair. I felt very comfortable with it for quite some time. As things progressed, I felt the tables were turning a little bit and less and less were there opposition members and more and more there were members who were totally in favour, unquestionably and a lot of the room became crowded with Enbridge employees. I tried to keep an open mind and I still do. I have not made my choice whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing for Kitimat and maybe I should make that choice since I’m pretty well there now but because Council has chosen to stay neutral, I stand with Council but my whole point here is that there can be a better way for us to deal with Enbridge,” said Halyk.
He said there had to be a fair way for the community to have their say. He did not feel his being on the CAB was fair to Council as the CAB was not balanced.
Feldhoff was opposed. “It’s one thing for the Councillor to come to the personal conclusion and withdraw from participating in the CAB. It’s another to basically have the District of Kitimat follow suit.. I think that in the spirit of our motion, there are two processes which I think have some structure and not wise to remove ourselves from. One is the CAB and the other is the Joint Review Process,” said Feldhoff.
He pointed out several people at the table would take issue at being called Enbridge apologists. He felt Council should engage and challenge Enbridge through the CAB.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan said she looked at the list of people who were present at the CAB meetings and said it did not look one sided to her. She suggested inviting someone from Enbridge to come to Council and talk to the Councillors about the CAB. She suggested tabling the motion.
Feldhoff suggested inviting the chair of the meeting.
Councillor Rob Goffinet stated they had the same problem at UBCM where all the delegates were assembled. He pointed out by taking a stand severing ties or creating ties, the person can be perceived as being against or for Enbridge. He said by severing ties, they show the CAB is only for proponents. However, as the District is not a proponent, by not severing ties, they show the community the CAB is not just for proponents of the project.
Goffinet also quizzed some of the attendees. He asked them how they perceived the participation of the District of Kitimat. He said people speak highly of Halyk’s attendance as he does ask critical questions and they want him to come back and advise them as he was a perfect example of how to make the CAB work.
Looking to the list of attendees, Goffinet pointed out everyone has agendas but the trick is trying to figure out what the agenda is. He was not certain everyone on the list were proponents.
Halyk said the people who Goffinet spoke about were no longer attending meetings. The BC Wildlife Federation were no longer involved and the Outdoor Recreation Council had missed meetings and he was unsure if they were coming back. The NGO’s refused to come back.
He said the meeting was a lonely place because he was the only one who was asking hard ball questions. He said there were quite a few people in attendance who were proponents because they would make money and he understands them being there.
He suggested inviting Enbridge to speak to Council about exploring alternative methods. Feldhoff said he felt it would be a mistake to quit the CAB.
Halyk said he had brought the CAB to Council and asked to be a representative of Council, he joined the CAB as a private citizen. He said he wanted fairness but he no longer felt the equity between opponents and proponents was balanced.
Monaghan did not feel the same way on this as she felt it was balanced. “If we’re not there, we don’t know what’s going on, I don’t agree with that at all,” said Monaghan.
The motion was called and it was defeated. Monaghan suggested another motion to meet with Enbridge. Feldhoff suggested meeting with the facilitator of the CAB meetings, Van George. However, Halyk said the facilitator is completely neutral as he says he does not stand one way or the other and is only there because he’s paid to be there at the beginning of the CAB meetings.
“If we’re going to meet with Enbridge, then we should meet with Enbridge, not with someone who’s paid to be neutral,” said Halyk.
Goffinet said they have gone from a motion to break ties to a motion to negotiate ties. He suggested they do not give an invitation but give them an opportunity to speak to Council.
This motion was defeated as well.
get those heads in the sand!! we'll get far that way
Comment by mary on 11th February 2011
By m murphy
14th December 2010 · By mary murphy
Yesterday · Is it the Community Advisory Board or the enbridge community advisory board? Quitting by not being involved leaves no ears and no voice. Staying neutral and still gaining all information is vital. As members of Council participation in projects that we don't agree with and maintaining Neutrality, Integrity and Participation and to remain true, is vital to our community. The empty seats should have been filled with our community people, messages should have gone out to our community to get involved. Baring our heads in the sand will not accomplish anything. Whoever EDO is good for them