Open letter to the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) board of directors.
The proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project is a major and disputed issue in our area, including in the RDBN, where I reside.
Over a year ago, Enbridge Northern Gateway started a controversial public involvement meeting process called ‘Community Advisory Boards’ or ‘CABs’, to which two directors from the RDBN participate; Eileen Benedict and Lance Hamblin.
I only know about their participation because I attended one of the first of those meetings, last year in Smithers and saw the name tags with titles of the two directors, who have kept extraordinarily silent about their participation.
I learnt that all participants in the CAB meetings receive $200, plus expenses and I expressed my concerns about elected representatives receiving money from a proponent as early as Feb. 1, 2010, in difficult correspondence with the RDBN which took months to be replied to.
My one and only attendance showed me the obvious; the CABs are just part of Enbridge’s well orchestrated and funded propaganda machine, mostly aimed at showing that they have ‘consulted’ with communities.
Even more obvious, Enbridge, which tries all it can to not deal with the public by making presentations to municipalities without the opportunity to ask questions and has refused many opportunities for community forums where different points of view are presented, is very fond of elected representatives that give them the aura of legitimacy, they so much seek.
Both RDBN representatives have been completely silent about their participation in supposedly representing the community.
I met with Hamblin on Sept. 7, 2011, and although the two hours we spent were rather pleasant, he did not follow up on any of his promises to send me the minutes of the meetings and some notes about controversial Patrick Moore’s presentation in Vancouver, which Benedict so much liked, as reported by the press.
I call on the RDBN to ask the two attendees to make public the minutes of the meetings they have attended for over a year in our name, to report on Moore’s presentation and to make all the above available on the RDBN website.
I appreciate your prompt reply to this very disturbing closed participation in community issues without any feedback to the communities.