Did you miss this meeting of Council? Watch the full video on Kitimat Daily Videos
Councillor Phil Germuth made motions relating to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project on Monday, April 2nd. His first motion was for the District of Kitimat to exercise its intervener status to express concerns about their fresh water supply. The second was to ask questions of Enbridge.
“If the Enbridge Pipeline is built, the possibility of a spill within the Kitimat River Watershed becomes a reality. The result of a spill occurring in the Kitimat River Watershed will mean that the water supply to the District of Kitimat would be completely cut off until the spill is cleaned up. If contaminated water from a pipeline spill invades our water distribution system, it could take weeks, months or even years to clean the contaminants from the distribution system, keeping our water supply shut off,” said Germuth.
“Water supply is a municipal responsibility and as a Mayor and Council, we are legally responsible to make every effort to ensure the City of Kitimat’s water supply is uninterrupted and of the highest possible quality.”
He expressed this motion would go along with their decision to remain neutral on the pipeline project, as nothing in it states they are in favour or opposed to the project itself.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff agreed with the motion, but not all of the comments Germuth made. Councillor Mary Murphy also agreed they needed to put questions out there and get the answers. She also agreed that hydrocarbons and contaminants posed a risk to the city’s water supply. However, she added everything in life poses a risk and they have ask the questions and get the answers.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan spoke against the motion as well, expressing there was a conflict with this motion and their motion to wait on intervention until after the Joint Review Panel concluded. This was against their motion.
Councillor Corrine Scott understood what Monaghan was saying but spoke in favour of the motion as it was just about getting information. It was not saying they were for or against Enbridge and the entire Council was concerned with what could happen to their water supply.
Monaghan wanted to invite Enbridge to Council and ask the questions right to their faces. Feldhoff said this dealt with motion two, and motion one was a short and simple statement. He was hoping the Joint Review Panel would read what they wrote and take the community’s water supply into account in their decision.
Monaghan agreed water was very important but was concerned because it would have to be done in a neutral format and not have the letter written by one or two people. Feldhoff suggested having the staff bring back a draft for review before it could be sent. Germuth agreed as a friendly amendment to the motion.
Councillor Rob Goffinet stated the motion was clear. The Council has intervener status and if they do not use it, they go against its intent. He said they should intervene on behalf of the people of Kitimat in any place they are concerned.
Feldhoff wanted to know if they had intervener status or if they were simply government participants. Murphy pointed out there were problems with the water supply in the past, such as beaver fever.
The motion was called and carried.
Germuth’s second motion was to requires the answer to several questions asked to Enbridge concerning the future of the community’s water supply. He had written several questions out in advance: What measures will Enbridge take to prevent water disruption to the District of Kitimat in the event of a spill and will it include full cost coverage?
What measures will Enbridge take to ensure the quality of water to the District of Kitimat will not be disrupted in the event of a spill?
In the event of a spill, what are Enbridge’s Kitimat River Watershed recovery and maintenance plans through out the year.
Will Enbridge accept full liability for the restoration of Kitimat’s entire water distribution system in the event contaminated water and/or product from a pipeline spill enter the distribution system, and will a clean up maintenance bond be lodged with the District of Kitimat?
Will Enbridge accept full liability for the loss of earnings from businesses forced to close or curtail operations due to a spill and will a bond be posted?
What plan does Enbridge have to protect the Kitimat River Hatchery from the effects of a spill?
What are the findings from impact studies that Enbridge has done on the effects of a spill that impedes both land and water use in the Kitimat River and what studies, if any, has Enbridge done on the impact a spill will have on the City of Kitimat. Are those findings available to the District of Kitimat and if not, when?
He expressed these were questions from one person and he had no problem if anyone wanted to make additions or delete what he said.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated she wanted to change the wording at the beginning of the motion from ‘requires’ to ‘asks.’ In her opinion, she wanted Enbridge to come to Council so they could look them in the eye, ask the questions and see what they have to say.
Germuth replied saying the motion does not say this bit has to be done in writing. Goffinet amended the motion to ask for the answers in a presentation to Council. He said they could go into the Joint Review Panel document. However, Enbridge has been invited to come and debrief Council about Nimbus Mountain.
Germuth agreed and said he hoped it would be here with the cameras on, not behind closed doors.
Monaghan added a comment. Murray Minchin who delivered the presentation on Nimbus Mountain was only given ten minutes to speak. He similarly requested that Enbridge be given the same amount of time to respond. Monaghan did not think the ten minutes would be enough time to respond.
Scott stated the point of the first motion was to meet with Enbridge for clarification. They should add this too the things they want the representatives from Enbridge to speak about. She said the presentation should not be given at a regular meeting of Council where they limit people’s time as it was too important.
Murphy said they have been on strict time limits because they do not want to limit people’s time to present to Council. She said they were on strict limits because they did not want to run late. She said they need to have all the information and be involved in the process.
Monaghan said they should set some time aside earlier in the day to meet with them. Councillor Edwin Empinado wanted to add the questions to the presentation as well. Monaghan did not want to limit the questions to a Council Meeting. She wanted the Councillors able to ask all the questions they wanted and get the answers as this is an important topic.
Feldhoff wanted to get the answers to the questions, however, he was not in favour of some of the questions without getting further information first. The amendment was called and carried.
Back to the motion, Feldhoff suggested having the administration add what the concerns about the water distribution may be. He thought they might have been overstated by the motion. He also wanted to know what the Kitimat Hatchery staff considered. He wanted further information before demanding answers about the magnitude of the risk.
Monaghan suggested a tabling motion. However, there was no mover. Goffinet suggested they not engage Enbridge without a staff report on the ramifications of a spill.
Scott suggested making the motion more general, eliminating the 7 questions and ask about the water supply of Kitimat. Having all 7 things in the motion was where they would agree or disagree.
Germuth stated they have tabled everything for administration when they can go out and get answers themselves. He did not see the point of having Enbridge present, go away and come back to present again. He said he did not mind if Council reworded the questions, but he wanted Enbridge to come with answers.
Feldhoff stated he was in favour of informing Enbridge of some of the questions which will be raised while the Council does their homework. However, this was a different motion than what had been made. Empinado expressed this was just technicalities because they already voted on a similar motion prior.
Goffinet made sure it was for a public presentation.
The motion was called and it failed.
Scott threw another motion on the floor. They will add drinking water issues to the presentation. The Council will draft a list of questions so they can get answers when the presenters come.
Germuth wanted to know what the time limit was. Feldhoff stated the time limit was the Joint Review Panel. The Council should be respectful of Enbridge and ask them to answer the questions when they present on Nimbus Mountain.
Goffinet stated the 7 questions have not been deleted or changed. They are active and Enbridge will be briefed on their discussion.
Monaghan said this new motion would allow all Councillors to add their input. Germuth asked when Enbridge will be coming. The answer, which came from the For Information Only part of the Council Package, was April 16th.