The Pipedreams Project

Guest Blog by Ryan Vande

The movement to protect B.C.’s coast against the risk of an oil spill is gaining momentum; citizens from all walks of life are taking it upon themselves to bring attention to the issues surrounding Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.

The Pipedreams project is a group of  kayaking instructors from Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre in Vancouver who have joined the cause.  We’re planning to paddle 900 km this fall, the length of the B.C. coast from Kitimat down to Vancouver, in an effort to connect and engage citizens to take action to protect our coast.

The Pipedreams Project aims to create a dialogue about the risks of developing an oil industry on our coast, and how stakeholders are involved in the process. We have serious questions around the safety of shipping crude oil tankers along Douglas Channel, and the ability of the planning and assessment process to reach a decision in the best interest of those being put at risk.

The Pipedreams Project team from left to right: Faroe des Roches, Curtis White, Ryan Vandecasteyen and Lisa Blachut, who is not completing the journey, but has been instrumental in planning it.

The Pipedreams Project also looks at the bigger picture; like the recent changes to our national environmental policies that will facilitate and encourage projects like the Northern Gateway Pipeline in even more remote, wild and special places like Canada’s Arctic.

An expedition of this nature has many inherent challenges and risks. Weather on the North Coast can be unpredictable and stormy once the seasons turn and the Pipedreams team hopes to make it through the more remote sections of the North Coast before the winter weather hits. Stretches of the route are lined with steep, rocky shores with little opportunity to land, requiring total commitment and careful planning. We’re going to be paddling through one of the most beautiful and wild parts of B.C., but the remote nature of our journey also means that at times we will be several days away from any help or opportunity to resupply.

We’re planing to leave from Kitimat on September 1st and you can track our route online using our GPS satellite messenger.

One of the biggest ways you can contribute to protect our coast from oil tankers and spills is to take action by writing your MPs.

Please take a moment to visit www.thepipedreamsproject.org to learn more about the issues, take action by sending a letter, and track our progress along the coast.

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