Williams Lake city council is throwing its support behind the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, council agreed to write a letter of support for the project to the provincial and federal governments, with copies to be sent to Kinder Morgan.
The move comes within days of Kinder Morgan announcing that it will stop all non-essential work and any related spending on the expansion between Edmonton and Burnaby.
Mayor Walt Cobb said as a resource community it is valid for Williams Lake to send a message of support.
“In all the information I’ve received, without a doubt, it is the importance of this project not only to B.C. and Canada that stands out,” Cobb said. ” We need development in British Columbia.”
The company has met the federal environmental standards and met the commitments the provincial government put previously, Cobb noted.
Coun. Scott Nelson who put forward the motion and joined the meeting by telephone and agreed with Cobb, saying it is an important project.
“As a resource-based community we should stand up for it, I wholeheartedly support it,” Nelson said, adding when provincial issues arise, such as the expansion project, it is “prudent” for Williams Lake to endorse projects and make its voice heard.
Coun. Ivan Bonnell, however, said he did not see any benefit to the City of Williams Lake “stepping into the quagmire,” other than making a broad statement to the provincial government.
“I think we should be trying to stay away from the partisan aspects of this,” Bonnell said. “All we have is correspondence in a media release from Kinder Morgan. We don’t have any information about any other positions from any other parties.”
Kinder Morgan has the right to pursue the project because it has approvals in place, Bonnell said, noting a year ago the B.C. Liberals were in support of it, the NDP were opposed and the Green Party was opposed.
“The outcome of the provincial election was a draw with no majority anywhere and we all know where we are today with the coalition government who is walking forward with their platform.”
Cobb said he did not want it to become a partisan issue, but wanted the Lower Mainland to understand how important the project is to the Cariboo region.
“They don’t tend to worry about stepping into the fray when we have issues and opposing things that we are trying to do,” Cobb said. “I want the message out there that rural B.C. and Williams Lake in particular is supporting these kinds of projects.”
Coun. Sue Zacharias was not in attendance at the meeting.
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