Pipeline panel cancels hearing to review logistics

BELLA BELLA, B.C. — The National Energy Board says meetings are underway to resume public hearings before the joint review panel examining the controversial Enbridge (TSX:ENB) Northern Gateway pipeline project.

BELLA BELLA, B.C. — The National Energy Board says meetings are underway to resume public hearings before the joint review panel examining the controversial Enbridge (TSX:ENB) Northern Gateway pipeline project.

The first of four days of scheduled hearings in the remote coastal B.C. community of Bella Bella was abruptly cancelled Monday by the panel.

Energy board spokeswoman Kristen Higgins said logistical issues related to the presentation of evidence in the community about 300 kilometres south of Prince Rupert are being reviewed before any decision is made to restart the hearings.

Placard-carrying opponents to the pipeline greeted review panel members Sunday when they arrived in Bella Bella. They did not attend a community welcoming gathering later in the day.

But Higgins would not confirm local comments that the panel members were uncomfortable with the reception they received in Bella Bella.

“That’s not the panel’s view,” Higgins said. “They were working out some logistical issues with the community leadership today. That’s what they are working on. They are meeting with community leadership to figure out what’s the best way to receive the oral, traditional knowledge of the Heiltsuk Nation.”

A terse update posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency web page dealing with the Northern Gateway review panel said the three members would not be sitting on Monday.

North Coast New Democrat Gary Coons, who represents Bella Bella, said he arrived on the same flight Sunday as the review panel members and did not sense they were concerned with the reception they received.

But he said they were greeted with a throng of passionate opponents to the pipeline project.

“Probably 300 people, community people, a very respectful, peaceful protest,” said Coons. “I was somewhat surprised and shocked that the panel would have felt there was a perception of security issues.”

He said he saw aboriginal leaders and RCMP members meeting Monday at the community hall where the meetings were scheduled to be held until Thursday.

Heiltsuk First Nation Chief Coun. Marilyn Slett said Sunday the panel did not “feel that they are not in a safe environment.”

Slett said a notice from the joint panel was received shortly after members Sheila Leggett, Kenneth Bateman and Hans Matthews arrived at the Bella Bella airport.

Opponents also lined the road from the airport to the village to demonstrate their concerns about the pipeline project.

Local students, with the support of the Bella Bella Community School, are participating in a 48-hour hunger strike to draw attention to their opposition to the pipeline project, Coons said.

Slett said the airport reception was emotional and powerful, but remained respectful and peaceful.

“We want to let them know that they are completely safe in our community,” she said. “It is really offensive to have to go over to convey this to the Joint Review Panel. We are a peaceful people.”

The panel has been met with protests since the hearings started in January in Kitimat, but no dates were cancelled until Monday.

The joint review panel is assessing the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project and reviewing the project’s application under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the National Energy Board Act.

The panel is scheduled to conduct 18 months of public hearings across British Columbia and Alberta and will decide on whether the project is in the public interest.

The $5.5-billion Enbridge project includes plans to construct a 1,100-kilometre twin pipeline to transport Alberta oil from the Edmonton-area to a port in Kitimat, in northwest B.C., for shipment overseas.

Just Posted

Red Deer boat launches closed due to rising water levels

More thawing ice and snow means a higher Red Deer River and… Continue reading

Candles, flowers, messages of support at scene of Toronto van attack

TORONTO — Candles, flowers and messages of support are being left this… Continue reading

Sentencing hearing for second-degree murder in woman’s online beating death

WINNIPEG — A sentencing hearing is underway for a teenager who pleaded… Continue reading

Canadian firm linked to Facebook data scandal defends its political work

OTTAWA — The co-founders of a Canadian company at the centre of… Continue reading

G7 ministers probe threats of ‘dark’ internet in wake of daylight van attack

TORONTO — Security ministers from the G7 countries are discussing how to… Continue reading

WATCH: Central Alberta dancers take over Red Deer College with their moves

Danceworks Central Alberta Dance Festival is now in its 38th year

Toronto in mourning day after van attack left 10 dead, 15 injured

TORONTO — Shock gave way to grief in Toronto on Tuesday as… Continue reading

2 approaches to turning recycled materials into art

What have you not seen recycled into an art form? Everything from… Continue reading

How a small P.E.I. police force is using humour to charm the internet

KENSINGTON, P.E.I. — A police force in a tiny Prince Edward Island… Continue reading

Habana, World Cup winner & Springbok record-holder, retiring

Bryan Habana, the lightning-fast South Africa wing and World Cup winner with… Continue reading

Canadians head home after U-17 soccer tournament called off due to violence

Canada coach Bev Priestman was preparing her team for a game Sunday… Continue reading

TV’s ‘Homeland’ feels challenge of competing with real world

WASHINGTON — Members of the cast of TV’s “Homeland” call it “spy… Continue reading

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Opioid treatment gap in Medicare: methadone clinics

One in three older Americans with Medicare drug coverage is prescribed opioid… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month