Local residents lining up to speak up

Fort St. James is speaking up about the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, according to Kandace Kerr.

Fort St. James is speaking up about the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, according to Kandace Kerr.

The day after this paper comes out, October 6, is the deadline for signing up to make an oral statement to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel.

As of press time, 12 local people had signed up to make a 10-minute oral presentation during the community hearings scheduled for January and February of 2012.

The joint review panel is holding community hearings along the proposed pipeline route, but those locations have not been determined yet.

If a large number of people sign up to make oral statements it may encourage the joint review panel to hold a hearing in that community.

The Fort is also well represented as intervenors in the review process. Six local people have signed up as intervenors, meaning that they can ask questions of Enbridge and receive written responses which are considered as part of the review process.

The District of Fort St James has registered as a government participant, meaning that they also can make information requests. And the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako has also registered as an intervenor.

Three local intervenors submitted information requests in the first round, and are waiting for the responses. Enbridge has until October 6 to respond to all information requests, but none of the local intervenors have received their responses yet.

Kandace Kerr set up an information table at the library every Tuesday night in September specifically to encourage people to make oral statements to the review panel.

She will also be organizing workshops later this fall for people who have registered.

“The sessions will be for folks to prepare their presentations, do some research or reading, and maybe even do a couple of practice runs before the community hearings early next year,” says Kerr.

She hopes that if a large number of people do sign up, the joint review panel will hold a community hearing here.

“We had a voice earlier this year, and the joint review panel held an additional information session here in response to requests from the community.” said Kerr.  “I am hoping we can use that voice again to bring a hearing here, so the joint review panel can see our community first-hand, see where the pipeline crosses the Stuart River, instead of looking at a line drawn on a map.”

Anyone can visit the review panel website at  www.gatewaypanel.review.gc.ca and signing up is fairly straightforward, according to Kerr, who says the process takes less than five minutes to complete. People can also register by phone at the toll-free number: 1-855-202-4559, or by mail or fax. She adds that the important thing to remember is to send three copies of your registration to the addresses on the website – once you do that, it’s all complete.

 

And yes, she is signed up to make an oral statement.