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REPORTING · 16th May 2014
Walter McFarlane
Councillor Mario Feldhoff put forward a motion on Monday, May 5th to ask the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and the Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, and endorse David Blacks Refinery proposal and ask for its support and promotion by senior levels of government.

“I see the presentation is not being in addition to Enbridge Northern Gateway, rather, instead of the Enbridge Northern Gateway,” said Feldhoff. “First and foremost, this motion respects the plebiscite results and Council’s position of being opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. As I’ve said before, that project was one of exporting raw diluted bitumen. Mr. Black’s Refinery is substantially different.”

He stated the refinery would create 3000 direct jobs and would export refined products rather than diluted bitumen. Feldhoff said he was pleased that Black was putting in a fibre optic cable for the length of the pipeline. He wanted this to get to the government before they make their final decision on the project in June.

“This is good for the Northwest, British Columbia and Canada,” concluded Feldhoff.

Councillor Rob Goffinet stated he was opposed to the motion because they were endorsing a “capitalized individual economic project.” He said he would be in favour if the motion was simply for a value added product.

“What this does is it commit us as a political body that may have to adjudicate and pass judgement on any project, we are making a value judgement,” said Goffinet. “Why would we make a locked in decision that we think that we are going for this project.”

He pointed out Black does not have any permits or appeals in front of any level of government. Goffinet stated that Council has already passed judgement on one project after 5 years of reports and filings. He would feel more comfortable endorsing the concept of ‘value added,’ rather than a company name.

Councillor Phil Germuth stated that the refining of the diluted bitumen is in Canada’s best interests. He said it would take away a diluted bitumen spill in Kitimat’s drinking water or salt water. It would take away all of Kitimat’s concerns, but it does not address concerns from other communities.

Councillor Corinne Scott said she was in favour of the motion because she likes pipelines more then she likes rail. She expressed pipelines were the safest way of shipping bitumen. She reminded Council this was an endorsement of a proposal. Black will have to go through the various processes.

“We should not be shipping out raw materials out of this country, they should have value added done to them. As far as the environmental impacts, I know that Canada would ensure the environmental impact would be less for our Earth then if it was built in a place like China or the third world countries,” said Scott.

Germuth said this was an endorsement of a project. It would still have to go through all the same processes that anything else would. He expressed refining resources before shipping them was a good idea.

Goffinet tried an amendment which would endorse proposals of value added processing and refining of Alberta bitumen such as the Black proposal and the processing and refining be endorsed by the governments.

Goffinet explained the Council will be proposing a business case which he felt is not yet formed. There will be rigorous environmental investigation. The project could change as it goes through these processes. He did not want to endorse a defined capital company.

Feldhoff did not like the changes to the motion and saw it as unnecessarily complex. He expressed Black is coming with a good proposal and if there are other proponents with good proposals, Council should endorse them as well.

“There are many hurdles left, this is understood. Let’s not create new ones. Time is of the essence, the Federal Government is about to decide on Northern Gateway. Let’s give them another path forward. A path good for Canada, and good for the Northwest. Let’s defeat the proposed amendment,” said Feldhoff.

The amendment was defeated, the motion was carried.