It appears the City of Prince Rupert has pulled a fast one on the electorate, one either born from council ignorance or deception.
Earlier this spring, council put forward the idea of including the lands across from Seal Cove within the municipal boundaries. Throughout the entire process, discussion focused solely on the need to acquire that land to protect the municipal drinking water supply. When it came time to seek electorate feedback via alternate approval, there was none and the matter was forwarded on to the province for consideration.
But less than two weeks after the province approved the transfer of land, the city announced it has been having closed-door discussions with Imperial Oil and Exxonmobil about locating an LNG export facility on those same lands. While not directly in contact with the water supply, the only reason the city is involved in the export terminal discussion is because it got the green light to include what is known as District Lot 444 in its boundaries.
Perhaps council can explain how allowing road construction, heavy equipment, deforestation, a likely pipeline and everything else that comes with an LNG export terminal within kilometres of the city’s drinking water is protecting it.
If one wanted a definition of sketchy politics, there it is — get the ascent of the electorate through the promise of protecting the water supply only to turn around and pitch the development of an LNG terminal on the site.
Council likely knew feedback to acquiring the land for a potential LNG terminal, which will pour thousands of dollars into government coffers, would be hit and miss at best. But really, who is going to object to acquiring a piece of land to protect the city’s water supply?
Nobody — and you can bet council knew that.
Council got approval from the electorate by pitching water supply protection while discussing a potential LNG terminal with proponents. So either council was ignorant of the impacts a terminal may have on the water supply or they pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes.
Either is pretty unforgivable.