Murry Minchin wrote a letter to Council which was received for information at their regular meeting on October 17th. The letter started off with a thank you for the public forum on September 20th. However, then it moved on to their stance on Enbridge.
“I would like to remind Council of your decision to take a neutral position on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal. I believe this decision was taken in 2010. As a result of this decision, Mayor Monaghan pulled her support from the Northern Gateway Alliance, including her presence on the Alliance website, in order to prevent the wrong impression of a break in Council’s position of Neutrality on the project,” wrote Minchin.
“Fast forward to the present day. I would like to draw your attention to the Invest in Northwest BC website. In the Kitimat section of Major Projects and Investment Opportunities, the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal figures prominently, and the contact person is the Economic Development Officer of the District of Kitimat.”
Minchin points out the District of Kitimat Economic Development Officer being listed on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project for the Investment Opportunities Website is not a Neutral Position. However, he also points out that the website receives money from the District of Kitimat to propose the Enbridge Northern Gateway Portrayal.
Minchin suggests, to return to Neutrality, Council ask to remove the Enbridge page or retract funding provided by the District of Kitimat to this website and discontinue affiliation with it.
At the City Council Meeting on Monday, October 17th, Councillor Mario Feldhoff moved to receive the letter for information. He explained the invest in BC was not promoting the project, it was steering people towards the projects. They are set up neutrally.
“Our websites do not promote the project, they provide information to the different proponents who are looking at it in our community,” said Feldhoff.
Councillor Randy Halyk he expressed concerns about proponents whom they have been speaking with proponents who are not listed on the Invest in BC website while Enbridge is.
“Enbridge is so controversial that, by just having it on that page indicates that we are looking at it and, from the perspective of Council, Council has made a decision quite some time ago that Council would be neutral on this Enbridge Proposal and Neutral to me would not be stating, Yay or Nay, but being very cautious there and I don’t think this listing really is following our proposal to be Neutral,” said Halyk.
Councillor Rob Goffinet expressed concern from Halyk. He said it could be perceived as a closer look or identification with the Enbridge proposal. If all the economic development proponents were equally identified on the website, he would have not problem with the two being on the same site. He asked staff it they were listed as neutral or were all projects displayed clearly or equally.
“Everything is treated equally, the website itself does not state Council’s position whether it is supportive or non supportive for any project on that site. It simply identifies proponents who are interested in the region and the idea is simply to attract large audiences about showing how interest is in the Northwest. This does not take a political stance on any of those projects, it simply identifies it,” said Municipal Manager Ron Poole.
Halyk asked if Pytrade, Sandhill or any of the other proponents on the website. He expressed it was not level or fair. Poole answered he does not know but administration will look at it. The motion was called and carried
The invest in Northwest BC website only lists four projects for Kitimat. Enbridge, Kitimat LNG, Rio Tinto Alcan, and Douglas Channel Energy Partnership. The Enbridge page (pictured above) can be seen here
The District of Kitimat is listed amoung the websites sponsors.