Jobs Jobs Jobs – And “Jobs” vs. “Green”

Jobs. People have often asked me questions like “Chris, you’re for the environment, but what about jobs?  Will environment always come before creating jobs?”

I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive.  There are a myriad of ways to create jobs, including ways to do so that will also help and protect our environment.

What are your ideas? Please share them in the comments or email me!

Short Term (1-5 years):

The immediate opportunities I see for job growth in our City are in the service and small business sectors.


West-Coast-General-Hospital-Port-AlberniThe Issue:  Our hospital and seniors homes are very full and we will need more homes and other types of care, that means more people employed. Not only can we encourage VIHA (already our largest employer) to expand but other providers as well.  We must also work to make our city a desirable place for young families and professionals to live in so that we are not simply adding to the commuter traffic over the hump.

Finding a Solution: The economic development office has in the past and I think must have recruiting more healthcare providers and services as a top priority.  As a city we must also continue to improve our levels of service and amenities and not be afraid to advertise the incredible services and advantages we already have so that people want to live here rather than only commute here to work.

Small Businesses: 

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 8.24.24 AMThe issue: I think we have seen over the past few years a much needed uptick in optimism in our small business community.  We are finally starting to see some revival of the 3rd and Argyle area and we are seeing Johnston and Redford continue to hold their own.  I believe very strongly that small businesses are absolutely critical to the health of any small city like our own.  We must have a goal to reduce the incentives for residents to drive out of town to get what they need.  I would like to see the City open up a discussion with the community asking everyone why they leave town.  I know people who go to Costco or Woodgrove in Nanaimo.  I know people who go to the Pool in Qualicum or Nanaimo.  I know people who recreate in Parksville or Tofino instead of Port Alberni. Developing our waterfront with more commercial and residential access is something that continues to elude us.

Finding a Solution: We need to ask people why they go away and what things the city could do in order to keep people in town and address the needs that people see are missing.   This is a big part of any “green” agenda as well.  Less driving out of town means less CO2 emissions, less car accidents, and less air pollution.  Perhaps a local city currency could encourage people to stay local as well?

Capturing West Coast Traffic: 

welcome_statueThe Issue: I cringe every time I hear that people wish to create jobs from the tourism industry because I strongly believe people need stable, secure, well paid jobs in order to fully contribute to society.  Seasonal jobs will never replace those more traditional types of jobs.  However, there is no doubt that Port Alberni continues to miss out on massive opportunity with every car that passes through on their way to or from the West Coast.

Finding a Solution:  I honestly believe this comes down to advertisement.  Very often I have conversations with people from out of town who literally have no idea what this town offers.  They simply don’t know.  And people are just too busy to find out.  We must redouble efforts to get a cohesive identity for our city and to advertise the businesses and opportunities we have here.  I would like to see a real attraction, something that can truly draw people to the City, *within City limits*.  Some things I’ve heard?  A water slide park, a museum for the water bomber, or even a mountain slide.  This is something big that would draw people in so that they could stay and then also see all of the other amazing things we already have like trails, mountain biking, fishing, shops and restaurants, and steam train and Mclean Mill.


The Issue: People often forget that one of the largest job creators is always home building and renovation.  Port Alberni’s home market has been largely stagnant or depressed for a generation.  I believe it will soon snap out of the doldrums and we will see a mini-boom in our housing sector.  This will mean jobs for construction workers as more people choose Port Alberni as a place to live.

The Solution: There are a number of initiatives in my other platform points that relate to getting people to come to Port Alberni to live.  Everything from developing the waterfront to a new pool to simply advertising the fact that we exist and are a great place to be!  There are also specific incentives that could be in place to encourage people to renovate and make their homes more efficient.


There are a ton of other opportunities out there including the work that needs to be done to upgrade the airport so that Coulson and others can start creating more jobs through that particular bit of infrastructure.  What are your thoughts on the best way to create some jobs prospects in town?


Medium/Long Term (5-10+ years)

Alberni Truck RoutesTransportation Infrastructure:

The Issue: Following on from the tourism and forestry pieces above, you can’t do any of that without good transportation infrastructure.  As we have seen over and over this summer, Highway 4 is congested and increasingly dangerous.  This does have an economic as well as the obvious social and environmental impact.  We are also seeing huge costs in the City from all of the truck traffic beating up City streets  We need to find ways to take traffic off our roads while also increasing capacity to allow for growth in our Port and other industries.

Finding a Solution: Building key infrastructure creates jobs.  In the City, it is long past time for truck routes to be designated and enforced.  Large trucks on residential streets are dangerous and disruptive and overly damaging to an already fragile streets cape.  They also reduce the ability for bikes, walkers and others to enjoy our streets as well.   Trucks should be limited to the Provincial Highway (Johnston Rd) and routes branching off Gertrude and Stamp/3rd corridors.  I support the industrial waterfront road to try to keep trucks off the 3rd Avenue corridor as well.

I would like to encourage the City and Regional District to take a big step back and investigate all of the options for increasing both industrial capacity to our port and City and also tourism and commuting traffic.  We need to get an idea of what routes and modes of transport best fit our City’s needs and what are most sustainable and cost effective in the long term.  My personal opinion is that focusing on paving the road to Bamfield/Cowichan and encouraging industrial, tourism and commuting traffic to move onto the railway is a much more achievable goal and would provide more benefit in the long term than a Horne Lake Connector. No matter what the conclusion of such an overall assessment, having it done would, I believe significantly bolster our ability to lobby government for the funding to make it happen.

Local Forestry

The Issue: Whether you see the massive cut blocks in the backcountry or the raw logs leaving the port, it is abundantly clear our forests aren’t producing the jobs and benefits to the Valley that they could be.  The pace and lack of public consultation is endangering other industries and activities in our Valley as well from mountain biking to hunting and fishing.  Forestry should be our #1 “Green” job source.  It is a renewable resource that should, barring consumer cycles, provide us a constant source of job activity and wealth creation.

Finding a Solution:  The Economic Development office of Port Alberni continues to pursue ways to have more wood processed in our Valley into high value products.  We must redouble our efforts to do this so that there are ample opportunities for local logs to be processed locally and create more jobs.  I would also like to see our Community Forest adopt a no-log-export policy.  There is absolutely no excuse for logs from our own community owned forest not to be milled and processed here to create employment in the Valley.  We must also find alternative uses for parts of the Community forest to encourage recreation and alternative forest resource use like mushrooms, traditional foods and medicines and wildlife preservation.  These are all ways we can have our forests create far more jobs than they do now.


94929The Issue: Between School District 70, North Island College, Pacific Coast University and other private institutions, education is already a big part of the employment picture in Port Alberni.

The Solution: We need to continue encouraging North Island College to grow in our community and provide more courses for our grads and for new and mature learners outside our community that might not be able to get into the programs they need in their own communities.  We could be partnering with North Island College to promote our City for the affordable living it provides.  As someone who has worked in Post Secondary for 14 years, I have seen first hand how much students struggle now to make ends meet and complete their studies. The more students come, the more jobs will be created and potentially the more students will stay in the Valley as other businesses and industries see there are people here ready to work.

The Port:  

Click for more info.

Click for more info from the Port website

The Issue:  As it seems to have been since the founding of Port Alberni over 100 years ago, the Port remains our greatest and yet most elusive opportunity for major job creation.

The Solution:  A port thrives when there are goods moving through it.  We have to come up with ways to make that happen that don’t detract from other job creating industries. (ie. log exports).  I believe the greatest opportunity we have right now and one of the greenest initiatives, at least on paper, that I have ever seen proposed is the Port Alberni Transshipment Hub.  This is a project that is quite a ways off (2020-2025) and has many major hurdles to overcome but at first glance, I believe it is very much worth investigating.

If you are not familiar, this is a proposal that would create a new port facility 30km down the Inlet on First Nations and private land near Sarita Bay.  It would be a very large facility able to dock massive container ships that currently go past us to Vancouver, Seattle and Tacoma and redistribute their cargo using barges.  This would reduce by many days the time it takes these ships to do their business and it would take thousands of trucks and trailers off our Lower Mainland highways.  The construction of this $1-2 Billion facility would bring major construction jobs to our area and would likely spur the paving of the Bamfield/Cowichan road as well as the reactivation of the railway to supply the facility with the goods it needs to function.   It would also give Port Alberni a direct link to ship to and receive from Asian markets for the 700,000 residents of Vancouver Island.

Renewable Energy:

I would be remiss if I did not include a mention of renewable energy as a potential job creator.  However, until there is a significant shift in Provincial and Federal support for this kind of job creation I believe the opportunities for large scale work from this will continue to be limited.  It is a shame, because we live in a location with massive potential for wind, tidal, wave, run of river, geothermal and even solar power.  But we need buy in from senior government to make it happen.  There will be opportunities for small scale stuff though like the city District Energy system and home renovations and additions we can all do to get into the renewable energy game and start creating jobs.

Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Family, Politics | 1 Comment

Get Your Chris for Council Cards!

Would you be interested in helping out with my campaign?

Nothing serious. All I would ask is if you could keep a few of these cards in your wallet and pass them out to anyone you think might be interested in voting.


If you are interested give me a call or an email. 723-0889 or

The campaign is swinging into a new gear now. Also please consider donating to my campaign. It is very easy to do so online here just by clicking on the buttons on the side. As much or as little as you want, it is all very useful and much appreciated.

Thank you all for your continued support! It has been fun already!


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On the 100th Anniversary – Memories of Vimy Ridge

August 5th 2014, marks the first full day of the United Kingdom and the Commenwealth’s war against Germany and the start of the First World War.

To honour and remember that I am reposting a story I wrote of my own pilgrimage to Vimy Ridge 11 years ago.  It is still, and will likely always be one of my most memorable moments of my life and it is because of the sacrifice of all soldiers and innocents in war that it affected me so deeply.

The day I walked from Arras, France to Vimy Ridge…

The stories of Arras and Vimy Ridge are intertwined. There were actually tunnels from the city halls and buidings of Arras all the way to the front lines near Vimy Ridge.

On one of the very hot days when I was there in June 2003, I walked from the center of Arras all the way to Vimy Ridge. It took me about 4 hours… I think it was around 30km. I tried to keep to the country roads out of town… there are plenty in France… the countryside was quiet and beautiful.  A perfect pilgrimage.

A poppy in a field in Normandy

I didn’t take many pictures on my walk… this is a poppy in a field in Normandy outside Dieppe that I saw a few days before.

As I got closer to the site of the memorial, visual clues around me triggered a growing sense of anticipation and quiet at the same time. The heat beat down upon me as if to ensure that both body and mind were sufficiently assaulted.

As I approached the memorial there was suddenly a forest. After seeing only huge expanses of fields and grass this native stand of trees was odd. When I entered the forest it became clear that this forest was as much a part of the memorial as the stone monument itself. Amongst the trees were huge depressions, poked periodically by small red flags. The flags signalled the position of mines, bombs and grenades… all manner of ordnance… still left from 80 years before… the depressions were craters, from bombs, shells and battle.

I continued to walk up the now nicely shaded road, the occasional car passing by. The hill was a steady climb into the forest, but it was not clear when I would reach the crest.

Then through the trees I could see a clearing, indeed, it looked as though the forest ended as quickly as it appeared. A few more steps and all I could see was the monument.


Vimy Ridge – 2003

I have never been so moved by an object. I was not prepared for how this visit would affect me and apparently I was not prepared even for my initial reaction. My stomach flipped and tears quickly swelled in my eyes. I had never seen anything quite so beautiful and powerful and imposing all at the same time.

That is why I took the pictures I did. From a distance. The picture above was the point where I first perceived the monument, and I simply could not bring myself to take more pictures of it after that. So moved was I by the reverance of the place that I would not, could not, embarrass it and its’ visitors by taking photographs.

As I walked up the path… cordoned off on both sides to protect visitors from entering the still deadly surrounding fields, the majesty of the monument made me bow my head. I found it difficult to look at. It was as if the statues were challenging me to look them in the eye and keep my composure.

It was too much for some. There were a handful of people looking for names enscribed in the stone…and more than one cried out in grief as they found the name of their loved one.

I am proud of what my countrymen did at Vimy Ridge, but my visit to the sight did not fill me with pride. It was with great sadness that I looked out upon the French countryside that was the final resting place of so many men and women. And given the events of the previous few months in Iraq and elsewhere it was a startling reminder of the horror that war brings upon all involved.


Dieppe Cemetery – 2003


I had posted this a few years ago to commemorate another moment of remembrance. The rededication of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 2007.  For my own archives, that post that preceded my story is included below…..

There will be ceremonies today at the Vimy Ridge memorial rededicating it after a 3 year restoration process.

I travelled to France in 2003, and my stop at Vimy Ridge was the most memorable and striking part of my tour. It is a solemn place, a place of mourning. Not of celebration.

Below are a couple pictures… of Normandy, of Dieppe (another battle this time in WWII that was much less “successful” and very costly), and of Vimy.

I’ve also included the words I wrote back in August 2003 after I had returned. They describe best my pilgrimage to this place. I would also like to note the loss of 6 more Canadian soldiers yesterday in Afghanistan. While Vimy and Kandahar are worlds apart, the sacrifice and cost remain. I fully support our troops and understand their sacrifice and their raison-d’etre. But lest-we-forget that at the end of the Great War, the words “Never Again” rang out. The human race has yet to figure out how to resolve it’s difference without resorting to war. I will continue to hope, and advocate for a day when peaceful negotiation can always, and forever replace bloody conflict. Then places like Vimy will not only be places of mourning and pride for loss of our best and brightest, but also places to remind us of why we can never do it again. After the bloodiest century in human history, I hope that that day will come sooner rather than later.

Posted in Family, Pictures, Politics, UN, War and Peace | Tagged | Comments Off

Council Live blog time! – Bike Paths!

Here we go! Newest is at the top. Here is the Agenda.

21:42 – Chopra moves to put $350,000 in a special fund with $100,000 going to general.
21:42 – McLeman removes rest of motions.
21:41 – motion defeated
21:40 – Kerr disagrees with motion as well, operating funds lent to forest should go back to taxpayers.

21:35 – Solda and Washington believe it should go to general revenue so as to pay for other projects.

Cole indicates he would like to have funds earmarked for a specific project and make the fund big enough to have other parties take notice, agrees with McLeman motion.

21:33 – use the $150,000 and $350,000 from the Community Forest to:
- $100,000 of debt payback and $350,000 from the forest be put into one fund for benefit of Alberni Valley (likely a pool)

21:32 – motion on Canal beach. For staff to report to council on cleanup costs and testing at the beach.

21:30 – missed name – speaks in favour of bike and walk bridge on 10th.

21:28 – Ian Thomas – Benches – thinks memory benches like those at harbour quay could be on Johston
10th ave. crossing has been passed a number of time.
Spent $60 million on McLean mill since 1986
Redford Extension bridge – Gary Delong, (sp.) was killed there, would be a good name.

21:26 – Jane Armstrong – interested in motion that was defeated on bike bridge. We have large population under 30 and over 60. We have ongoing health concerns in city.

Solda notes the motion can be brought back.

21:20: councillor reports.

Washington – great work on Our Town. – Salmon Derby will be more expensive but bigger prizes.

Cole – LNG project will be great for port expansion and community. Solda notes there will be an open house on LNG soon.

Chopra – WFP IWA union has 5 year agreement gong to vote soon.

McLeman – compliment on Kevin Wright fixing up his business deck. Sales are coming through at McLean Mill. Also looking for contract from water system.

Kerr – attended air quality council meeting. Bernadette Wyton has retired. Looking for a chair/champion. Working toward a burning bylaw. Funding for wood stove exchange is back this year. Funding opportunities perhaps for chair. Stack test from Catalyst has been low or zero.

21:16 – McLeman report – good reports on wwater connection with Beaver Creek. Also Sproat lake patrol will be an issue on ballot, does support the service.

Cole asks about naming of new Redford extension bridge. Solda – there is a name in the hopper.

21:13 – Solda- Mayors report – City will be sending a letter to AVNews congratulating Wawmeesh on his time and good luck with Masters. Welcome new reporter.
Thanks to Chris Alemany (*blush*) and signers of petition and supporters of Martin Mars. Unfortunate that government has chosen not to listen to public, AVICC and UBCM on issue. Mars could also be used to support or backup for support to Alberta and others.

21:11 – McLean Mill new bridge likely over budget by around $20,000 not necessarily all going to come from City. Kenny is keeping a keen eye on budget.

21:10 – Chopra asks if community can help with access to Klitsa Park.

21:05 – Parks and Rec report – Esso beach is mentioned, lower Johnston, Russel park pole fell over in wind a few weeks ago.

Our Town big success.

Next one is Gyrassic Park at Gyro.

Train Station is open 7 days a week now.

Big work at McLean Mill, new bridge over stream.

21:00 – Police report – patrols increased, port ALBERNI is one of busiest jurisdictions. Priorities: active in community, substance abuse, crime reduction, youth. Detachment is meeting goals so far.

Solda asks about recent 3rd ave. incident with coffee shop.

Police: driver error.

Solda and Kerr: should there be changes in parking.

Police: we go to a lot of collisions related to parking.

Cole: ICBC often tells us we don’t have enough traffic problem for changes to be warranted….

Chopra: accidents happen everyday.

20:58 – Status Report

Solda asks about Tseshaht protocol questions – Manager indicates it hasn’t gone anywhere but is in Tseshahts hands.

20:49 – Council passes agreement with Shaw to provide Wifi for all public.
Kerr brings up concerns about children exposure to wifi signals.

20:31 – Council passes a motion to create the referendum question on a 10th Avenue crossing. The cost is now $14.6 Million. $160 for 25 years.

Chopra: We don’t want to scare people if it is not going to cost $14 million.

Cicon: we endeavour to get the best estimate. Redford connector is only $5 Million, much smaller and much lower bridge than 10th proposal. Had good communication with ministry on costs.

McLeman: brings up point that the vote doesn’t solve anything even if it goes through since a binding referendum would have to take place if council actually went ahead with borrowing.

Manager: last referendum died on a half and half scheme with city/ministry because ministry did not want any cost sharing. Expects that to be the same, no ministry indication they would be willing to help.

Finance : can only borrow up to $2 million this year.

Chopra: why isn’t it binding? Why aren’t we doing a binding referendum.

Clerk Hartwell: this would not be friendly amendment, binding referendum would actually commit City to spending.

Cole: let’s make it binding and end the debate.

Manager: recommends to Council that if they go to binding that they refer back to City because City would have to approve funding, do geotechnical work, etc etc. before a binding referendum could be had.

McLeman: says yes this is why he didn’t vote for the question in the first place.

Solda: starts to say something and then……

Chopra: moves to table the motion. Motion is tabled, discussion ends until next meeting.

McLeman: makes a motion to have a referendum to partner with senior gov to out in a cycling and walk bridge over 10th.

Chopra: is defensive. Doesn’t want a motion that would overtake referendum motion.

McLemans motion for walk bike bridge fails. (I am sure we will hear more next meeting!)

20:26 – resident has problem with a wood-burning furnace that does not comply with city bylaw on emissions. Fire chief recommends that it not be allowed because otherwise the bylaw would have to be rewritten. Council approves recommendation to deny use of the furnace.

20:25 – Kerr moves that the city investigate what is needed to include bike provisions into development bylaws for new buildings. Passed.

20:05 – City Engineer makes one point – report does not fix any timing or expenditures on Council. Plan is only an outline of a number of areas that Council can move forward on creating a more walkable and cyclable city.

Cole – is there one action that we could take that would be a best move for our dollars?

Cicon – Engineering would like to have direction from Council on where it would like to move. Report is a broad report detailing network and development, education, and health.

Engineer mentions a spine down 10th Avenue but emphasizes there needs to be direction from Council.

McLeman – asks what it cost.

Cicon – first line of the report $20,000

McLeman – Says there should be a group of cyclists to create recommendations to make it more cycle friendly. We have to sit down as council with cyclists and do it. Accept the report and then take the next step.

Chopra – Has concern that they are approving the report without knowing.

Manager – City needs to have this report in hopper in order to use document for application for grant funding to actually do any recommendations.

Chopra – concerned that there were no public reps. on report creation.

Kerr notes, Bill Brown, John Mayba and David Gilbert were members of public that provided input.

Kerr – maybe we really need to do some stuff now… 1983 would have been good too. Build into bylaws for new buildings having bike space provided. Asks for report on city facilities that have, or not, bike parking.

Manager – zoning bylaw would be where biking requirements would be put. Parks and Rec will provide info on existing facilities.

Washington – Johnson and River Road are provincial highways so Minister should be informed.

Solda – countdowns would definitely be useful for some high traffic areas. Sidewalks are an ongoing issue, asks Cicon when sidewalks are meant to be repaired and maintained.

Cicon – we can focus on let downs, wheelchair ramping, for corners at intersections on sidewalks. Various parts of the City do not have sidewalks that would be good for walking. Currently sidewalks are done only as needed. Not much sidewalk budget.

Solda – Notes that 10 years ago there was push to get sidewalks along empty Johnston side. Cut due to cutbacks. Trails – would be good to have connection from one side of town to the other. Speaks in favour of more let downs for accessibility.

Benches – need to install more along major corridors.

Cicon – bus benches (not necessarily on bus route) can be requested by public. They are placed for maximum practical and advertising potential.

Solda – Had meeting with Transport Minister, talked about new Redford bridge.

Manager – New bridge will only have shoulders for bike and walk. Will also be trail system under bridge along River,

Solda – also asks about Carbon and Gas tax whether it can be used.

Manager – Yes – Cicon – ICBC as well.

McLeman asks if City can pass bylaw to allow bikes on sidewalks (comment: NO. UGGH, there is a reason why wheeled transport is not on sidewalks, it is dangerous. We have the widest roads in the country, let’s use them!)

Cicon – notes that the “hardcore” cyclists were definitely consulted.

Council moves to adopt the report.

20:00 – The Active Transportation Plan! Bike and walking paths!

19:58 – Council approves some variances to development plan for a property on Ian Ave.

19:56 – Council receives 2013 Comprehensive Annual Finance report and also Financial Information for 2013.

19:55 – Council receives the Annual Report. No substantive questions or comments from public or council.

19:45 – Cycling Bill Brown – letter received on Bike paths. Rob Cole says we need to figure out what plan is more so than just adopt it. Lots of other plans that demand work too… They receive the letter.

19:43 – issues brought to council About Victoria Quay. Noise issues and other complaints.

19:38 – Rob Cole speaks not in favour of the City being on a committee instead be more supportive of sports fishing in general. McLeman suggests, with Chopra, that a City rep be on the committee so that the City has a better idea. City passes a motion to request that Councillor Cole be put on committee (round table) for local sockeye fishery.

19:37 – August 30th Heritage society will be doing a truck and heritage stuff day at the old Arena (beside the Curling rink)

19:35 – the Esso property might provide some opportunity to include pedestrian. Manager notes that the Harbour road there is a private road, not city owned, so all four partners (WFP, City, PAPA, Catalyst) would need to involved and on same page. Motion carried to talk to Discovery Centre.

19:35 – Discovery Centre request – to make the walking space from Quay to Discovery Centre lighthouse more friendly for pedestrians.

19:30 – after a question from Chopra, Manager notes that the Community Forest is a for-profit venture that gives 100% to the City as sole owner. McLeman notes that the legacy committee was formed to take all funds received and invest into a project that benefits the entire Valley. The Council has passed the motion to change the community forest committee from a Select (temporary) to a Standing (permanent) committee.

19:25 – delegations all done. Now doing some more housekeeping for the Community Forest.

19:22 – McLeman speaks favourably of the committee. Gives local control of our forests. Notes the ministry doesn’t like him saying the city would like more, but the city does. It is a success for the City. Chopra reiterates that it is a success… Makes the city money.

19:20 – Handing over 2 cheques $150,000 to clear last of the debt of startup fund and $350,000 dividend revenue.
19:18 – Jim Sears – 5 year cut period is now done and starting on an inventory to assess the resources and see what harvest option are. Continuing on trail building program. Taylor Block has old growth high up. Have put out RFP for both Taylor and Sproat blocks. Also working with ADSS.

19:17- Next up Community Forest report
19:16 – Council accepts the report.
19:13 – McLeman asks why we have an auditor. Auditor explains it is part of the law and that they test as best they can to ensure the books are solid.
19:11 – Cash has increased slightly as well as funds (reserves etc) managed by municipal finance has decreased slightly. Community Forest provides 1.5 Million in assets value.
19:10 – Chopra makes comment that balance looks good. Revenues are healthy and expenses are not rising fast.
19:08 – Grants were 10% of revenue! taxes were 58% protective services (police and fire) decreased substantially but were still 25%, largest increase was in environmental development ($200,000) and Rec and Cuiture ($150,000)
19:07 – Revenues increased 12% (on grants and taxes) expenses increased only 1%
19:05 – Surplus of 4 Million
19:03 – Audited Financials report (the fun stuff first!)

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Gas Fracking, LNG and what Councillors should, and likely do know.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.43.51 AMOne thing that really bugs me about politicians is when they fein ignorance to avoid dealing with a topic. At last nights City Council meeting there was a letter addressed to council from a resident of Burnaby that had gotten that Council to pass a motion recommending the Provincial government impose a moratorium on Natural Gas Fracking. This has been done in other jurisdictions including counties in New York State and California, the United Kingdom (which was then overturned) and Newfoundland. There is a comprehensive list here.

Councillor Kerr spoke strongly in favour of passing such a motion because of the information she had gathered and heard on the topic. Fracking for unconventional “tight” gas has been a huge issue for many years now all over North America. Concerns have been raised in the media ever since the first fracking was done in Texas and North Dakota.

The information is very much ‘out there’.

Despite this, Councillors McLeman, Solda and Cole claimed they didn’t have enough information to make a determination at this point on the motion. For some reason they ignored the information provided by Councillor Kerr (which she has spoken about a few times). Councillor McLeman said he wasn’t sure if fracking was used for things like the Liquified Natural Gas that is being proposed down the Inlet.

Perhaps I am being too strong, but I don’t really think so. Liquified Natural Gas is just Natural Gas that has been cooled. It comes from anywhere Natural Gas is produced. The majority of new gas now being produced in British Columbia is coming from “unconventional” gas from fracking operations and all new gas will be from these unconventional reserves. Independent reports from geoscientists say that 50,000 new fracking wells will be needed in order to satisfy demand from the 7 proposed LNG facilities (not including Port Alberni).

This graphs shows the reality very clearly. Old conventional natural gas is in blue.  It is declining.

New unconventional gas is in green (Horn River Shale Gas) and red (Montney Shale Gas). It is rising. This is all fracking.

I personally think the three Councillors claimed lack of information has more to do with their automatic support of LNG more so than their lack of knowledge about fracking but hopefully this information settles any doubt.

Fracking is very bad. The BC Oil and Gas Commission has already investigated minor earthquakes from fracking in NE BC.   All of the LNG that is slated to come online can and will only happen if it comes from fracking unless the moratorium on gas exploration is lifted around Haida Gwaii (which it won’t).

Based on the evidence, Council should have agreed to what was a very reasonable request to encourage the BC government to consider a moratorium.  Perhaps future councils will do so.

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