Kinder Morganâ€™s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion means Ucluelet could see an increase in tanker traffic and locals want to know where there municipal candidates stand on the issue.
Uclueletâ€™s slate of municipal hopefuls were asked about pipeline expansions during last weekâ€™s all candidates meeting.
Among the candidates, incumbent Geoff Lyons expressed the firmest support for pipelines.
â€œThereâ€™s an economic opportunity for Canada, and British Columbia specifically, with oil pipelines but only after commitment that thereâ€™s going to be the best possible protection for the environment,â€ he said.
He said thousands of vessels currently pass by Ucluelet every day regardless of any expansions and spoke to Uclueletâ€™s lobbying efforts towards transforming the Coast Guard property at Amphitrite Point into an oil spill response centre.
â€œI am in support of the pipeline and I think the economic benefit to BC is incredible,â€ he said.
â€œWe just need to make sure that everyone is kept with their feet to the fire to make sure that theyâ€™re giving us that protection and we can certainly provide Ucluelet as a source of that protection by offering our Coast Guard property as an area where that can be utilized.â€
He expressed his desire to see a transition to green energy, specifically wave energy, in the future.
â€œThe accountant in me says there has to be a strategic move from oil; if we turn oil off tomorrow there would be an economic collapse of the worldâ€™s economy,â€ he said.
â€œWe need to phase ourselves out of it and itâ€™s going to take 30-50 years in my personal mind.â€
Mayco Noel did not offer a stance on pipelines but suggested Ucluelet could have a leg up on Tofino in terms of emergency response.
â€œOne thing that Tofino doesnâ€™t have which Ucluelet has the possibility of is commercial public barge facilities for actually accessing the water,â€ he said.
â€œThe district of Tofino to my knowledge doesnâ€™t have that. Ucluelet could have an upper hand for the Coast for quick response and stuff like that.â€
Incumbent Dario Corlazzoli said he was undecided and needed more information.
â€œI think most people in British Columbia need to be educated with actually truthful information, not from the oil companies and not from governments but from people,â€ he said. â€œIf it is possible safely, then show us and prove it to us.â€
He expressed concern over the closure of the Amphitrite Coast Guard station in Ucluelet and echoed Lyons sentiment that the property should become an oil response centre.
â€œTheyâ€™re taking away things that, in my mind, they should be expanding,â€ he said.
â€œThey need to prove to us that they have concern for our environment and they can show us by putting things in place that can deal with a problem if it does happen.â€
Incumbent Randy Oliwa said locals make decisions with their everyday purchases.
â€œIâ€™m not going to lecture anybody here because everybody that I speak with nowadays is so in tune with the power of their dollar. If you donâ€™t want to shop in the frozen food section of your local grocery store because you donâ€™t believe in that food, donâ€™t do it,â€ he said.
â€œThe same type of analogy transcends to every day actions (like) turning off the light switch. What are you doing yourself personally, in your home and teaching your children, to conserve? Thatâ€™s where it starts.â€
Incumbent Sally Mole said Uclueletâ€™s coastline is a â€œhugely valuable resource,â€ that she would be hard-pressed to mess with.
â€œIt would take a lot for me to be convinced that adding any more burden or possible risk to damaging that environment, that valuable coastline we have; it would be a hard argument to make,â€ she said.
Marilyn McEwen spoke to the recent oil spill scare caused when a large Russian vessel lost power near Haida Gwaii and was at risk of crashing ashore and spilling its oil
She said the potential disaster put a focus on the potential dangers to coastlines.
â€œI too would want more information and to be assured there are some safeguards in place before I condoned more activity,â€ she said.
Read more meeting coverage in this week’s Westerly News, on newsstands now.