Tuesday night proved again that Sooke’s municipal hall hosts the best weekday infotainment in town. Nine months after Transition Sooke and Awareness Film Night’s Jo Phillips first asked for a “no more tankers” plebiscite question, Kinder Morgan Canada’s senior manager of marine development and five of his minions sought an audience with our elected representatives.
Michael Davies’ practiced, almost soothing presentation was crafted to reassure us that we’re in professional, well regulated and reliably safe hands as the Canadian petrostate continues its natural evolution. Pending approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, he promised a “world-leading tier five” emergency response system featuring a new set of Vancouver Island response stations (including one in Sooke), extra pilots on the bridge of tankers, and both tethered (to Race Rocks) and untethered (as far as Neah Bay) tug escorts.
Davies then gracefully (if a little resignedly since he’s been KM’s public punching bag for awhile now) fielded questions from council and the public. Mayor Tait led the cross-examination with several tough queries, one of which referenced the recent call by regional mayors for a project freeze until an independent B.C. technical review takes place. Councillor Reay learned that current spill-response protocols (i.e., 72-hour response time for a local incident) will remain unchanged until the pipeline expansion is greenlighted (which could happen as early as a year from now, Davies said). And Councillor Logins slipped in a zinger by noting that local fishermen will at least have post-spill jobs since many are trained as First Responders.
By all means, watch the replay and reach your own conclusions. [Replay available here]. Don’t miss the comments by Sinclair Philip, George Butcher, Ralph Hull, Margaret Critchlow and Barry Whiting, all upstanding pillars of this community.
In ending, I want to paraphrase Mayor Tait’s words from a council meeting early this year:
“Leave fossil fuels in the ground and let’s all get serious about fast-tracking clean energy alternatives.”
With the T’Sou-ke Nation, AOE (Accumulated Ocean Energy) and green builders like Kerry Conwright leading the way, Sooke can blaze its own trail and set exactly the right kind of example.
President of Transition Sooke
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