Big industry relationships are poor

Editor: Stop the pipeline before it adds to the damage of the Nechako Reservoir.


The July 9 article in Lakes Dsitrict News about the plight of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation’s Cemetery and the need for a water-level control mechanism at the Kenny Dam illustrates the state of the relationship between big industry and the people in whose land mega-projects are built. In the 1950’s the attitude of government and industry was that the Kemano Reservoir Project would benefit ‘Canada’ and that the only people who would be impacted were “a few Indians and some hillbillies”.

The reality is that the people of the Lakes District never saw any real benefit from the project. Ootsa, Whitesail, Natalkuz and Chelaslie Lakes and Whitesail Reach, are still choked with standing, partially submerged deadwood, lost lakes and rivers, and the submerged farmsteads of our first settlers. Rusting and broken machinery still litters the shore at Andrew Bay, and the Cheslatta Cemetery is still being flooded; more than sixty years after the project was begun.

For Alcan’s PR hack, Colleen Nyce, to say that:  “We have a good relationship with Cheslatta Carrier Nation…” is disingenuous. There were no meaningful impact studies done. The abuses of the Cheslatta people were perpetrated and ignored to enable Alcan to make money for its investors. They have had sixty years to address the damage they have done. They have done next to nothing. They have done the least they could get away with.

Most of the people who were directly affected are now dead and gone. A few remain to watch the cycle being repeated.

Today it is Enbridge who babbles on about non-existent benefits for the people who will have to live with the consequences. Not drowned forests and farms this time; rather the pointless destruction of forest lands and animal habitat; no meaningful jobs for local people, and the very real risk of oil spill contamination.

The point is that ‘damage mitigation’ is not acceptable. Damage PREVENTION is the key; and the only way to prevent that damage is to prevent the pipeline ever being built.

Let those who have seen the Kemano Reservoir disaster area inform and educate those who have not.  Let anyone who doubts the kind of damage that megaprojects like Alcan and Enbridge can cause take a trip into Tweedsmuir Park to see the flood damage and the kind of beauty and resources that were destroyed to build an aluminium smelter.

Let us not be fooled again!

Stop the pipeline before it adds to the damage of the Nechako Reservoir. If Enbridge wants to contribute to Canada let them refine the oil in Alberta and sell the finished products as they can. They’d probably generate more wealth that way, anyway, and the money would stay in Canada.

I love this land,

Ian Carnie



Burns Lake Lakes District News