The Tofino-Long Beach chamber of commerce is terrified of what the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion could do to the local economy.

Tofino’s business community outraged by Kinder Morgan approval

“A spill or tanker accident would devastate our coast and our tourism economy along with it."

The Tofino-Long Beach chamber of commerce is piping mad at Ottawa.

The same business community that cheered Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his visit to Tofino last summer, is now jeering him after the Liberal government’s approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline project last week.

The chamber was a registered intervenor in the National Energy Board Kinder Morgan review process under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, a process the chamber criticized as flawed for its limited scope, inadequate response plans and failure to recognize local First Nations.

“We were unconvinced during the NEB process and remain unconvinced that either level of government could adequately deal with an oil spill,” said chamber president Jennifer Steven.

“Right now in Bella Bella, industry and provincial and federal government agencies are struggling to cope with a relatively minor oil spill, while the local Heiltsuk First Nation is left with a devastated local marine environment. That’s not an acceptable risk for us to take in the [chamber] board’s opinion.”

Immediately after Trudeau announced his decision to approve the pipeline expansion on Nov. 29, the chamber issued a statement expressing the local business community’s outrage.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Tofino with his family this summer,” Steven said. “He, more than anyone, should know how vulnerable this area would be to an oil spill and how much we stand to lose in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with an economy primarily based on tourism.”

She said the chamber was surprised and disappointed by Trudeau’s decision.

“The Prime Minister, before he was elected, said the National Energy Board process was inadequate and that, if elected, his government would introduce a more inclusive process,” she said. “That’s not what happened.”

She said it was important for the chamber to voice its opposition to the project because of the devastating impacts it could bring to the local economy.

“A spill or tanker accident would devastate our coast and our tourism economy along with it,” she said.

“For us it represents simply too great a risk in terms the increase in tanker traffic coming within 50 kilometres of our beaches and coastline…We’re a tourism community and part of the Chamber’s mandate is the stewardship of Clayoquot Sound.”

The chamber is also raising concern over the West Coast being a blind-spot in the government’s spill response strategies.

“Currently, Tofino and the West Coast of Vancouver Island lie outside the spill response area for the Kinder Morgan pipeline, despite the fact this remote community would be on the front line in the event of a tanker accident,” the chamber said through its statement.

 

Just Posted

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

Tofino’s Clayoquot Oyster Festival scaled back for 2017

Organizers optimistic about years to come

Pacific Rim Whale Festival in dire need of volunteers around Tofino and Ucluelet

Society’s treasurer Marilyn McEwen fears 2018 could be event’s final year.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

Heavy rains, winds hit B.C.’s south coast

Localized flooding, gusts up to 70 km/hr expected for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

Most Read