Their voices were heard over the rain.
The cold, wet weather did not stop a determined crowd of about 30 to 40 people from checking out information on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and enjoying some live music.
An afternoon event at Spirit Square and an evening concert on Necoslie Road were organized by community members concerned about the proposed project’s impact on the environment and community, and speakers came from as far away as Smithers, B.C. to get their information out there.
Terry Teegee, vice-chief of the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council, Greg Brown of Friends of Wild Salmon, Peter Erickson of Nakazdli, and event organizers Kandace Kerr and Lionel Conant all spoke of their reasons for opposing the pipeline, and what the project means to them.
As well, musicians Rachelle van Zanten of Fraser Lake and Freesoul of Prince George performed some songs for the crowd at Spirit Square and later they both also performed a full concert on Necoslie Road and were joined by local vocalist Jerusha Turgeon, who closed out the show.
While the opponents of the project do not have the enormous budget Enbridge does to promote their side, they are still working to get their voices heard, said organizer Lionel Conant.
“We’re showing and exposing the other side of the coin which is seldom seen,” he said. “And all we have is ourselves.”
He was also encouraged by the diversity of the group of people he saw at both the daytime event in Spirit Square and the evening concert on Necoslie Road.
“The most amazing thing was the discussions afterwards,” he said. “That was what really inspired me personally … those of us in this community that are concerned, we’re not alone, there’s a large network.”
Conant said he now realizes even locally there are more people than he thought who are concerned and wanted more information.
While Skeena-Bulkley MP Nathan Cullen could not attend the rally, he did send some words of support to be read for him, saying “how encouraged and proud I am of your gathering today to defend our communities, our land and our way of life.”
He went on to say “when people know the risks and see the pathetically small benefits they stand together and say ‘NO’.”
The proposed project is currently in the environmental review process stage.
Anyone interested in getting involved in the joint review panel process which listens to concerns and gathers information before deciding whether the project can proceed and under what conditions can go to the review website at: http://gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca/clf-nsi/bts/jntrvwprcss-eng.html.
If they want to get involved locally with other people asking questions they can contact Kandace Kerr at email@example.com.
The only way information, concerns or questions are considered by the joint review panel is via the joint review process.