Oil tanker in Burrard Inlet.

Oil tanker in Burrard Inlet.

UBCM opposes oil tanker traffic growth in near-split vote

Civic leaders vote 51.3 per cent for resolution urging province to fight oil pipeline projects

B.C. civic leaders voted by a razor-thin margin Thursday to oppose oil pipeline projects that would expand tanker traffic in coastal waters.

The resolution passed in a nearly split electronic vote at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention with 51.3 per cent of delegates in favour and 48.7 per cent opposed.

“We rely solely and wholely upon the oceans for its many resources,” said Skeena-Queen Charlotte regional district director Des Nobles, one of several delegates who said the risks of B.C. carrying more oil to the Pacific far outweigh the benefits.

Others cited the higher cost and challenge of cleaning up a spill of heavy bitumen crude oil and Canada’s insufficient spill-response capability.

“Communities in the interior of B.C. and on the coast can survive and thrive without this pipeline,” said Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt.  “I’m not convinced smaller communities and even large ones can thrive in the face of a catastrophic oil spill.”

Opponents of the resolution cited the damaging signal it would send of B.C.’s openness to business before environmental reviews are complete.

Enbridge is in a joint review process on its proposed Northern Gateway bitumen pipeline to Kitimat, while Kinder Morgan is in an earlier stage of its plans to expand its existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline from northern Alberta to Burnaby.

“The oil in Canada is going to come out of the ground and it’s going to find its way to market,” said Prince George Mayor Shari Green, who opposed the resolution.

She said Alberta oil sands crude might flow to tidewater through Alaska or Washington State instead of B.C.

Kinder Morgan already has a branch of its Trans Mountain oil pipeline that also reaches the coast in Washington State at Cherry Point, where some of the flow is refined.

“Tsunami debris is already arriving on our shorelines,” Green said. “So would oil from our neighbours should there be an accident.”

The resolution advanced by Saanich council requires UBCM to “oppose projects that would lead to the expansion of oil tanker traffic through B.C.’s coastal waters” and urges provincial government leaders to fight it by any legislative and administrative means available.

Just Posted

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

Most Read