Mayor & Council Lobbying Provincial and Federal Governments

Kitimat’s Mayor and Council Bringing Local Issues to the Provincial and Federal Governments

The District of Kitimat’s Mayor and Council are lobbying on behalf of the community at the 2016 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Victoria BC.  The annual conference, on from September 26 and 30, is an opportunity for local governments from across the province to discuss issues that matter to their respective communities, and to present those issues to Premier Christy Clark, her cabinet ministers and senior provincial bureaucrats.

While at the conference, Kitimat’s Mayor and Council will focus their attention on informing the Province of several of Kitimat’s concerns, including:

-  The need to ensure industrial developments in the northwest are regulated by sufficient environmental measures to protect the airshed and environment, yet not hinder economic development opportunity.

-  The need for the Province to continue working towards fulfilling its role in reconciling Aboriginal rights and title interests.

-  Enhancing access to recreation opportunities on the west side of the Douglas Channel.

-  The need for the Province to put a greater emphasis on diversifying the provincial and regional economies by promoting value-added industries.

-  Increasing motorcycle safety by expanding the Coalition of Riders Educating Youth (COREY), originating from Kitimat.

-   Increasing infrastructure spending in the Kitimat Valley with improvements to the Haisla Bridge and Highway 37.

-   Increasing affordable housing opportunities within Kitimat.

-   Increasing communications between the Province and the District when deactivating Forest Service Roads (FSR) with potential recreational value.

In addition to representing Kitimat at the UBCM conference, Mayor Phil Germuth was recently in Vancouver where he presented to the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.  Germuth was invited to speak to the federal committee on September 22 regarding Kitimat’s perspective on the transport of oil. 

The Mayor expressed that safety and sustainability are paramount to the community and region.  He told the Committee that the District of Kitimat views value-added opportunities as vital; ensuring safer tidewater transport of oil as well as national and regional economic prosperity. 

Mayor Germuth does not believe that unrefined diluted bitumen is safe for tidewater transport and the residents of Kitimat do not want to see unrefined product being shipped on the Douglas Channel.  However, he expressed that refined products which could be supplied by either of the Kitimat Valley’s proposed refineries (Kitimat Clean Refinery and Pacific Futures Energy Refinery) would create an environmentally safer product for tidewater transport and would generate thousands of jobs for the region and nation.  Additionally, both of the refineries intend to use rail cars to transport the raw product in a semi-solid peanut butter-like state to Kitimat, which Germuth believes is a safer method of over-land transport. 

Mayor Germuth expressed that if oil is to ever be transported by pipeline, the Federal Government must strictly regulate pipeline operators to utilize the absolute safest technologies available, such as External Hydrocarbon Sensing Cable technology which is currently not being regulated or voluntarily adopted by industry due to the additional expense.

Mayor Germuth stated that “Kitimat is known as a marvel of nature and industry.  We believe that Kitimat is ideally situated to provide access to international markets for Canada’s natural resources and will become a center for value-added industrial activity.  However, we want to ensure that any development that moves forward in our region is absolutely safe for the environment and community.  Through this balance Kitimat can protect our amazing natural environments as well as contribute to the economic prosperity of our region and nation.”