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Monday, December 12, 2011

Enbridge pipeline decision delayed a year? Whhaaat?

You heard correctly. As reported by the Vancouver Sun, a final decision on whether to approve or reject Enbridge’s controversial Northern Gateway Pipeline project has been delayed until late 2013 – almost a year later than anticipated.

Why you ask? Because of the unprecedented number of individuals who have signed up to have their voices heard during public hearings for the project.

The original time schedule saw public hearings lasting only a couple of months. Due to widespread public concern regarding Enbridge’s risky project, people came out in numbers to sign up to voice their concerns, and numbers speak.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tankers on our Coast: Public risk vs. Private Gain

Once in a while, a video comes along that explains, in a few minutes, everything you've been trying to say for years. Two days ago such a video was released by filmmaker Ben Gulliver: Tipping Barrels – Journey into the Great Bear Rainforest. With beautiful footage by Ben Gulliver and Ian McAllister, Tipping Barrels follows surfers Arran and Reid Jackson on a trip into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.

[Unfortunately, the video is no longer available online]

I love this film because it beautifully illustrates everything that we stand to lose from oil development on this coast. The film's release also coincides with that of a report (PDF copy) by the Living Oceans Society, National Resource Defense Council and Pembina Institute, which outlines the considerable risk to local communities, salmon-bearing rivers and coastal ecosystems associated with transporting bitumen along the Northern Gateway Pipeline and connecting tanker route.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Home from Work

Will Soltau is local research coordinator for our Salmon Farming Initiative

Ever since I started working at Living Oceans Society after my fishing career, I have been walking to work and home again. It's a short walk and good exercise. There isn't much vehicle traffic and I never succumb to road rage. Most days I walk along First Street enjoying a view of the ocean and the people I meet along the way. In the winter I meet the regulars, the die-hard walkers and their dogs. We usually have a short conversation in passing. In the summer I get to meet new people from all over the place who have come to enjoy a bit of what Malcolm Island has to offer. Many of them are stretching their legs having just tied up at our harbour after a few days on their boats. I get to learn about where they're from and where they are heading. I have a chance to talk about the places I have been on this coast as a fisherman and also about the work I now do at LOS. Sometimes, if the tide is out or if I'm not feeling sociable, I'll walk along the beach below the houses for a change of pace. Walking on beach gravel is a lot tougher than walking on pavement. Being able to enjoy a walk along the shore on one's way to and from work is pretty special, I suppose, but it is an everyday experience for me. Okay, this is starting to sound like an Andy Rooney piece so I'll get to the point.

The other day on my way home I could hear a boat motoring along behind me. It was late afternoon in late fall and the light was beginning to fade. The sound was no big deal and, since boats go by all the time I wasn't paying it much attention until the horn begins blasting. I turn to see that it's a local fishing boat cruising full speed outside the kelp patches just off shore. The next things I hear are children's joyful voices emerging from the house just ahead of me. A small flock of three little kids burst outside and go running down to the beach jumping, waving and shouting at the man on board; “Daddy's home! Hi Dad, hi Dad.” He is waving back to them from the wheelhouse, blowing the horn and flashing his spotlight on and off.