Costs vs. benefits

A reader takes issue with the cost versus benefits to B.C. taxpayers for the Northern Gateway Pipeline.


Who will reap benefits and who will shoulder costs of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines project?

Through their public consultation advertisements we have all read or heard from Enbridge Northern Gateway about the “3,000 high-paying construction jobs in British Columbia”.  What they haven’t told us about openly is the likelihood of those jobs being done by foreign temporary workers.  You can read more about that in Enbridge Northern Gateway’s application, hearing transcripts and the Joint Review Panel’s recommendation report, Condition 26.

Enbridge Northern Gateway wants us to believe “over 500 new long-term jobs will open up” in the operations phase of the project.  The Joint Review Panel states otherwise on page 12 of their report: “Approximately 268 long-term jobs would be created by the project, including some in the marine services sector.”  The difference between the two is that Enbridge Northern Gateway included indirect employment, over which they have no control as stated by one of their witnesses during questioning.

Of approximately 268 long-term jobs 234 are estimated to be in B.C., and of those five may materialize at the pump station south of Fort St. James.

Manning the pump stations 24/7 is a planned commitment by Enbridge Northern Gateway, not a regulatory requirement.

As we saw with the Mt. Milligan project and their commitments to locate their concentrate load-out site north of Fort. James, to not have on-site accommodation for their workers during mine operation, and to build a new housing subdivision on the north east side of town, commitments can easily be broken.

Enbridge Northern Gateway advertisements say they have created a $3 million Education and Training Fund that “will support training initiatives that focus on pipeline construction skills”.  Executive of the College of New Caledonia have recently cancelled our local campus’ welding program, while retaining the Enbridge funding for The Key Resource Centre.

Enbridge Northern Gateway advertisements tell us the project will generate “$1.2 billion” in new tax revenue in B.C., over 30 years.    Contrast that to the estimated $1.4 billion per year in tolls Enbridge Northern Gateway will bring in according to their application.

Costs to Canadian tax payers:

Enbridge Northern Gateway has said they need 36 navigational aids for their project.  Government of Canada Coast Guard evidence estimated the cost of the aids to be $11.9 million with an additional $500 thousand per year for maintenance; costs Canadian tax payers may have to cover.

According to the federal government the onus is on individual communities to ensure that they have a plan in place that is capable of responding to emergencies related to this project, including oil spills.

Enbridge Northern Gateway plans on leveraging their $3 million Education and Training Fund by “working very closely with governments to ensure that when we put in a dollar, somebody else puts a dollar in with us.”  By “somebody”,  I am certain they mean the tax payer.

I think it is clear just who stands to benefit, and who will shoulder the cost of this project.



Brenda Gouglas

Fort St. James

Sources are from Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel web site: