Candidates for council were asked at an Oct. 3 all candidates meeting whether they supported the Trans Mountain pipeline: the project received only two oppositions and ten voices of support.
Council candidates Sharlene Hinds and Matthew Steberl were the only ones dissenting to the pipeline. Steberl argued for keeping jobs in Canada by refining the oil
“We’re shipping jobs away from Canadians who could have them here, if we refined the oil in Alberta,” Steberl said. “I’m opposed to anything that takes away from our economic stability as a country.”
Candidate Sharlene Hinds opposed the project and opposed the Canadian government spending taxpayer dollars on another fossil fuel project.
“We all need to wake up and start transitioning away from fossil fuels, and all I want to add to this is — you can have all the safeguards you want, one good earthquake and we’re done,” she said. “I think that our environment is our biggest gift, and we have to protect it.”
Several candidates supported the pipeline on the basis that it was a safer transportation method than by rail or trucking. They included incumbents Bob Erickson and Scott Medlock, together with candidates John Duff, Steven Patterson and Victor Smith.
Some candidates voiced their support for the project, with reservations. Incumbent Donna Kropp said she supports it, but expressed her reservations related to environmental risks.
“In the beginning I was definitely not in favour of it because I felt that it was another risk to our natural resources and I was very terrified that it was going to be a problem,” Kropp said. She added she has since done research about the safeguards in place, and the fact that bitumen is a cleaner fuel than coal.
Incumbent Heather Stewin supports the project for the economic opportunities it will bring, but only if proper Indigenous consultation is done.
”The First Nations know the lay of the land, and I don’t believe it should go through without First Nations consultation,” she said.
Candidate Paul Stock said he was wary of ‘selling the soul of our community’ simply for jobs, adding a balance between economic potential and the environmental and First Nations impacts needs to be struck.
“I think the project could be done much better. If nothing else we should be upgrading the product, even if it is not full refining, we shouldn’t be shipping diluted bitumen,” said candidate Steven Patterson, who said he is reluctantly in support of the pipeline project.
Local jobs and economic opportunities were main reason why the majority of candidates support the project.
“Kinder Morgan employs quite a few locals, and they have good paying jobs and I wouldn’t want to see that end,” said Medlock.
Candidate Craig Traun said the economic opportunity to the town from the pipeline, is something Hope just ‘can’t pass up.’
“People don’t realize that we already have pipelines coming through this town right now,” said incumbent Dusty Smith, who supports the project on the basis of job creation.
Bob Erickson mentioned the $500,000 grant to the District of Hope if the project does go through, to which an audience member quipped ‘it’s called a payoff’.
Thirteen candidates are running for the position of councillor in Hope’s 2018 municipal election. Candidate Sung Yun Wong was absent from the Oct. 3 all candidates meeting.
A previous version of this story contained a factual error in the caption of the photo accompanying the story. The error has been corrected.
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