Thursday, November 29, 2012

UFAWU, Joy Thorkelson find frustration at Prince George Northern Gateway Hearings

The Joint Review Panel has wrapped up their Prince George sessions, the final presentations taking place on Wednesday afternoon, bringing to an end the nearly two months of sessions around the Prince George area.

Among the presentations and questioners for the final week of hearings in Prince George this week was Joy Thorkelson, who in her role as representative with the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union took part in the Joint Review Panel  sessions on Tuesday.

An experience that seemingly left her just a little frustrated at the process and concerned over the lack of time and ability to ask some key questions that she and UFAWU would like to have answered.

Thorkelson's concerns did however find a forum in Prince George, through the Daily Newspaper the Prince George Citizen, an article on November 27th outlined some of the key points of her concern regarding the Prince George Joint Review Panel session of Tuesday.

Among her concerns:

The limitations on what questions could be asked during the course of the session, particularly the narrow scope of questioning that could only deal with what was on the record and not what may be missing in the government's response to the Enbridge application.

The socio-economic impact on the commercial fishery dealing with freshwater species, as well as the impact on spawning grounds if chemical additives from the project leak into salmon bearing rivers or streams.

What role spill risk analysis played into the report filed to the Joint Review Panel by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

As well, she was disappointed that only "junior staff" were on hand to answer her questions at the Panel sessions, believing that a higher ranking bureaucrat should have been in attendance to the hearings.

The full interview with Thorkelson and an examination of more of the proceedings that she took part in can be found here.

The UFAWU rep will no doubt have another opportunity to discuss issues of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel when the hearings resume in Prince Rupert in December.

The Panel will be in Prince Rupert from December 10 to 17, with sessions scheduled for the North Coast Convention centre below Chances Gaming Centre, the Panel will then break for Christmas and New Year's, returning to Prince Rupert for more sessions in February, March, April and May.

A much anticipated opportunity for local residents to once again offer up their thoughts and seek out further information on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.

As she reminded City Council Monday night by telephone, the Joint Review Panel Hearing transcripts are available for the public to review from the Panel's website and she advised council that would be a useful thing for local residents to take advantage of ahead of the Prince Rupert sessions.

You can also review the proceedings thus far from our archive page on the blog, located here.

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