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REPORTING · 11th April 2014
Walter McFarlane
Enbridge held an open house on Tuesday, April 8th. The place was packed with both supporters of the pipeline and opposition. The event began with a BBQ before moving into a presentation from Enbridge personal.

The first presenter was Janet Holder, Project Leader. The first thing she talked about was Enbridge, as she did not think a lot of the people who lived in Kitimat or BC understood who Enbridge is.

“We are the largest transporter of crude oil, we have approximately 25,000 Kilometres of crude oil pipelines, with over 2.2 million barrels per day of crude oil. Allot of that into Canada, a lot of that into the United States. We do not at this transport anywhere other than Canada and the United States,” said Holder.

She stated they are the owner and operator of Canada’s largest gas distribution system with 2 million dollars. They have invested more than three billion dollars on renewable energy, Canada’s largest producer of solar energy and second largest producer of wind power.

The planned pipeline will move oil products from Alberta to Kitimat. There will also be a condensate line which will move condensate back to Alberta. The terminal site will have 2 births for tankers. There will be 19 tanks at the terminal and it will have all of the emergency backup systems.

There will be 250 tankers a year coming into tankers escorted by two super tugs. One will be tethered, the other will escort. They can move the tanker and are equipped with emergency equipment. Barges will also be equipped with emergency equipment.

Holder told the people who were assembled that this project has gone before the Joint Review Panel and they recommended to the Government that this project is in the best interest of Canadians and it can be represented in an environmentally safe way.

The decision will be made by the government in June, and if the government makes the decision, there are a number of conditions which need to be met before they can put a shovel in the ground.

“That’s what the review process was for, to make sure every piece of information, every piece of scientific evidence could be reviewed and analyzed,” said Holder.

She stated they have the shippers, the producers and the First Nations behind them. Northern Gateway is not Enbridge, but Enbridge and 10 other producers and aboriginal communities. The pipeline will be owned by aboriginal communities and 10 producers. It will bring 560 jobs to BC and 180 jobs to Kitimat.

Katherine Pennington, the manager of Community Benefits and sustainability was the next speaker. She presented on what Northern Gateway meant to Kitimat, and could mean to Kitimat. She said it was more than just jobs, it’s about skills training, business development and sustainability.

“We did offer 10% equity ownership to aboriginal communities. We’ve also been very forthright and interested in working with aboriginal communities around inclusivity around the supply chain. With that 300 million in opportunities at a minimum around business, 15% construction inclusion, 10% over the long term operations and that’s in addition to skills training and business development support,” said Pennington.

She stated there would be on going engagement with the community and they intend to engage the community and invest in it. They started investing in skills training in 2006, before they filed the application.

“We fundamentally believe that in order to meet the targets I talked about of local inclusion, aboriginal inclusion, we needed to make good investments up front. That’s what we’ve done,” said Pennington.

2 million dollars has been invested into skills training and they have managed to raise another 2 million from the government. They have supported 30 skills programs and it will go up to 45 skills training program.

There will be a minimum of 1000 jobs during the construction phase for the coastal region. They want local people in these jobs. Pennington stated there will be 180 jobs in Kitimat.

Moving into what Northern Gateway could do for Kitimat, This year, Northern Gateway has provided for Environmental field assistant training so 20 people will be skilled in working as environmental technicians. There were marine skills training for 12 people. Many people took pipe skills training.

“The north is situated for the first time on a real opportunity to work as a journeyperson in your local region,” said Pennington.

They are funding project shop class which will rebuild local high school shop classes. MEMSS will be one of those beneficiaries. Enbridge has funded soccer, hockey and the food bank. They are providing young people with information about skills and opportunities. She stated all of this was a part of a commitment they made to the JRP.

The final speaker was Owen McHugh, Manager of Emergency Management who talked about Emergency Response. “It’s not just Northern Gateway that is currently looking at this stuff, it’s currently the Federal Government and the Province and we recognize that jointly,” said McHugh.

He stated his presentation was based on what BC thinks world class should be. It was based on what is there right now, what the traffic will look like in the future and gave recommendations on what they wanted to look like. The Federal Government also made 45 recommendations to improve the response network.

The JRP gave 17 conditions to emergency response and they have to file their plan before the project begins. Vessels need to meet international standards, vessel traffic needed to be monitored and acted upon, rescue capabilities need to be on the coast.

He went through how the vessels will be less than 20 years old, double hulled, two tugs which were designed by Enbridge. They have to have a sea trial with a live tanker. There have to be marine pilots on board.

“We put these things forward, we need to follow through on our commitments and we want to make sure we’re doing it effectively. We want to work with governments, we want to work with industry and we want to make sure that jointly, we’re coming up with the best system we can to make sure we have the safest routs possible,” said McHugh.

The five tugs they plan on building will add to the safety of the North Coast, because they all have emergency response and firefighting capabilities.

McHugh talked about many of the other commitments which they have made. They allowed the community to select the contractor who conducted their risk assessment. They looked at all the scenarios and came up with their worst case scenario.

He expressed they are doing everything reasonably practical to determine a strategy to make sure they can mitigate as much as they can. They have gone through the most comprehensive regulatory process which a pipeline in Canada has ever gone through.

“Now, we have to follow up on all of those commitments in a transparent way by filing material to the NEB, by consulting with governments and communities,” said McHugh

They are doing the best studies they can and approaching it with a scientific approach. He hoped people would support the project. The event concluded with a Q&A session with the public.