COMMENTARY · 20th July 2012
I think Kitimat City Council Dropped the BallÖ No, not the current one, one of the previous ones.
Some people will no doubted blame the one that took the BC Government to court. Others will blame the one which was at each otherís throats over simple opinion. A few people might point fingers at the one leading up to the 2011 Election.
One of those Councils dropped the ball and now we have to live with it.
This relates to Rio Tinto Alcanís Liquor License which has been a hot topic in town for the last two weeks, taking up around a good hour of City Councilís time. However, the license is the tip of the Iceberg.
The real concern is the on site replacement town. The Camp, which Mayor of Kitimat, Joanne Monaghan estimated to hit 5000 people before all of these projects end.
It during the 2007 School Closure Consultation Meetings, One of the School District Staff explained they had been in consultation with Alcan and informed the parents and teachers who were present that the modernization would be done from an onsite camp.
As such, they saw little reason to keep a school open for the workers who would not be bringing their families, would not join Kitimatís population, albeit temporarily and would be sending money home and not spending much of it in our town. Needless to say, a school closed.
More details began to come out. Aside from the obligatory mess hall, the camp would have a barbecue area, bar, convenience store and Tim Hortonís. According to Monaghan, the plans for the donut chain at the camp have fallen through although she was told by the proponent putting the chain in Kitimat and not by Alcan or Tim Hortonís themselves so who really knows?
Why a camp? Because construction workers are dangerous and vile people who want nothing more then to rape and pillage the community and keeping them fenced up and five kilometres from town will keep the community safe.
Based on the camp workers Iíve met, I canít help but wonder if Alcan is trying to keep them safe from us.
However, Alcan is not the only business building a camp. Rather then being used for industry, the old Eurocan site is going to turn into a camp for one of the LNG projects.
This is where our Council has dropped the ball. Maybe it is not their fault. After all, there has been one person on Council who has been afraid to challenge anything Alcan does. This is the same person who was worried Alcan would not modernize if they did not get their liquor license.
Once upon a time, the Mayor Dawson Creek, Mike Bernier came up to speak at a pair of Enbridge town hall meetings. He really didnít say anything important to the Enbridge Pipeline but he did talk about how Dawson Creek had developed a policy forbidding camps in their community.
If an industry wanted to come in, they had to build housing which could be turned over as low income housing when the project is complete. Our Council had at least one member at both the city hall meetings Bernier attended. Yes, even the one in Terrace.
Iíve been told there is no low income housing in Kitimat because there is not enough zoned land in Kitimat for multi-family dwellings.
The problem with a football reference is it assumes two sides opposed, but Kitimat should be a community working together. A better reference is PVP-TPK. In other words, all the groups which should be working together are not and it will result in a total loss because of the lack of cooperation.
By now, the camps have been approved and changing policies will cause a lot of problems. It is too late for a policy which will support local business.
Spot on Walter - Thanks for writing this
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 20th July 2012
I have listened to the mayor of Dawson Creek on three occasions where he describes this. Camps are bad for communities and every local politician knows this from Mike. He was President of the North Central local Government Association (NCLGA) when he delivered his presentations. All our Mayors and councillors know Mike and his stand on camps, as well as the vast benefits to Dawson Creek.
He understands the hazards of gas and oil wells and also understands the economic realities. Something our Northwest Local Governments seem to fail to comprehend.
A policy against camps could have been made long ago. Even though RTA has private property and can do essentially what they want, making a firm stand for the community of Kitimat instead of acting like lap dogs is the type of action which has made Dawson Creek a better community.
Kitimat will now be used as a precedent in other communities across Canada.
Just like the construction of the railway before the time of Unions, cheap Chinese or those from other socially impoverished nationalities will be brought in to force further impoverishment on Canadians.
From an article written earlier.
"Bernier explained they do not want to be a boom bust community so they have set up a bylaw forbidding camps in the community so people who come in either buy homes, rent apartments or stay in hotels."
Watch Mike deliver his address on this article.