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REPORTING · 10th May 2011
Walter McFarlane
Council discussed their policy on Oceans on Monday, May 2nd. Councillor Bob Corless made a motion for the policies to be adopted by Council. The policy contained five bullet points.

1: “The District of Kitimat respects that our natural environment, which includes our oceans, is a sacred trust we hold for future generations.”

2: “The District of Kitimat believes that our future quality of life depends on the balancing responsible economic development with respect for the environment.”

3: “In assessing any development proposal, Council commits to ensure that our natural environment is protected.

4: “Council will commit the time and effort required and engage independent expertise, as necessary, to fully assess the impacts of any proposed development.”

5: “Regarding supporting or opposing a proposal, Council commits to avoiding any rush to judgement until all relevant studies and assessments have been completed and analyzed.”

Councillor Mario Feldhoff wished to amend the motion. He wished to remove the words: ‘Which includes our oceans’ from the first bullet.

“Speaking to it, although the topic is the policies of our oceans, I think that by taking out that clause, it says: ‘The District of Kitimat respects our natural environment for all future generations.’ I think the issue is broader then just our oceans, it’s our air and everything around us. I know that this maybe wasn’t our initial intent, I hope that having a broad based environmental policy,” said Feldhoff.

Councillor Gerd Gottschling stated the policy was already broad as it said: ‘The District of Kitimat respects our natural environment, which includes our oceans, for all future generations.’

Feldhoff replied if they were going to mention oceans, the oceans policy should include rivers, lakes and so on. Gottschling replied they were included by natural environment. He suggested the natural environment covers everything.

Councillor Randy Halyk thought taking the oceans out was feasible but wanted to replace it with the word water.

“We are trying to keep it to the KISS principal, Keep It Simple Stupid and we’re getting into this word smithing again which so happens when we start talking about these things around our table and I think the statement that the District of Kitimat respects the Natural Environment which includes our oceans is pretty clear and I don’t see why we have to take that out of there,” said Corless. He reminded council the heading was their policy on oceans.

The amendment failed.

Halyk then made his motion to replace the phrase: ‘Council will commit’ to the ‘District of Kitimat’ will commit. Corless then reminded him this is the Council’s policy on oceans. There was some agreement as the District of Kitimat was mentioned in the first several bullets as well. The amendment was called and carried.

Councillor Feldhoff had one more amendment, to change the word sacred to the word treasured as it was religiously charged language. “What is sacred to one group of people, others might not see as sacred and we are treading upon religion when we use the word sacred. I think a word such as treasured would be broader and not likely to offend certain persons,” said Feldhoff. The amendment was called and carried.

The policy was carried.