I live a block and half from the ocean. I’m lucky that way. There’s a path that runs the whole length of the north side of the City of Victoria’s outer harbour. I’ll often go down there just to check out what’s happening. At low tide, I can watch the clams squirt jets of water into the air. At night I can watch the raccoons waddle amongst the rocks and the great blue herons fishing.
During summer months I can look across the water to see ferries unloading tourists, many headed to the local economic engine of the Inner Harbour and Government Street.
These things I notice when I go down to the water are part and parcel of a healthy local economy, environment and culture on our coast.
And B.C.’s local governments get that. I think that’s why we’ve seen several local governments recently pass resolutions opposing the expansion of crude oil pipelines and tanker traffic, from West Vancouver to Prince Rupert to Oak Bay. It seems these governments see all risk and virtually no benefit for local residents.
Our municipalities and regional districts don’t actually get to make the call about whether or not to approve oil tankers and pipelines, but when acting together they can have considerable political influence on the higher levels of government that do have the say.
That influence comes from the fact local government politicians are opinion leaders in their community. When they band together and align on an issue, they begin creating public opinion and electoral consequences for offside provincial and federal politicians.
Here’s a shout out to all those who wrote letters to their elected officials on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Island back in March. Since then we’ve seen Victoria, Saanich, North Saanich, Oak Bay, Metchosin, the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communitie, and the Islands Trust pass resolutions to protect their residents from oil tankers and oil spills. You made a difference!
And thank you to all of those local elected officials who have voted for these resolutions. You are showing true leadership and courage.
Here’s a neat map showing leading local governments who have passed resolutions in BC (does not yet include West Vancouver).
The more local governments pass resolutions, the greater our chances of getting the government of British Columbia to stand up for itself, and for our waters.
If you don’t see your local government on the map, consider contacting your Mayor, Councilors and/or Regional Directors and ask them to consider passing this motion:
BE IT RESOLVED that council:
1. Recognize the Coastal First Nations and Save the Fraser Declarations, which prohibit oil tanker expansions through B.C.’s coast;
2. Expresses unequivocal opposition to projects by Kinder Morgan, Enbridge, or any other entity that would lead to the expansion of oil tanker traffic through B.C.’s coastal waters;
3. Urges the provincial government to use whatever means are available to stop the expansion of oil tanker traffic on our coast.
Thank you to Ecstatacist on Flickr for the image. Used under a creative commons license.