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REPORTING · 17th May 2012
Walter McFarlane
Cheryl Brown stepped up at the Regular Meeting of Council on Monday, May 7th to explain what Douglas Channel Watch is and how they are involved in the National Energy Board Process.

“We’re a group of like minded individuals who have an interest in the area and the number of projects that are beginning to evolve in this area,” said Brown.

The Douglas Channel Watch is a group which talks about the issues concerning these projects. Their goal is to protect the Douglas Channel Watershed and preserve it for future generations. They ask questions about these projects, such as the Northern Gateway. They also submit evidence.

“As interveners, we are able to submit evidence, we can ask for information, submit information requests and also, it means we can participate in the upcoming hearings and ask questions there,” said Brown.

They submit evidence which they have researched, which they have found and are able to swear under oath. The evidence can be cross examined and they put a lot of work in it. She listed some topics which they have researched.

She expressed they have concerns about the proposal as there are gaps within the proposal and information requests have gone forward. They have concerns about the NEB entity, concerns about the government agenda and concerns that local governments are not doing their own due diligence.

“Really, all we are is reasonable citizens asking reasonable questions within a process that’s being acknowledged,” said Brown.

Councillor Phil Germuth asked about the Government agenda and the JRP. He said he does not trust the JRP as their mandate is risk vs. benefit for the betterment of Canada. If they see getting the oil out of Canada to China unrefined is in Canada’s best interests, they will risk the environment to do it.

He expressed he does not support the project because of the environmental concerns nor does he support the project because of the export of raw resources. He thanked the volunteers of Douglas Channel Watch for what they do.

Councillor Rob Goffinet said they are serving a purpose. While raising questions might get the ire of people who disagree with them, as a City Councillor, he will remain neutral through the project to see if they believe individually or as a collective in the process.

He told Brown, they are making the Council think about where they stand and what they know or do not know about these issues. They are promoting the discussion, study and analysis.

Councillor Mary Murphy wanted to make a comment on the repelling onto ships by pilots. It is a new process to get them on more effectively in the Douglas Channel. She wanted to know how they were able to look at this topic about this as it was not in their area of expertise.

Brown explained they research, ask questions and recently, they got an affidavit.