The Kitimat to Terrace Industrial Development Society stands out as the lone business group intervener in northern B.C. offering unqualified support for Enbridge’s proposed $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipe-line.
Despite the promise of thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in contract opportunities, the business community in northern B.C. has had a low-key reaction to the controversial pipeline project, a sentiment that is raising concerns along the Alberta portion of the pipeline route.
Bill Eynon, president of the Kitimat to Terrace Industrial Development Society, says there has been some reluctance in the business community to publicly support the project in the face of opponents concerned about the environmental risks. “We think it’s the right thing for the north,” Eynon said of the support they will offer in hearings that begin in Kitimat on Tuesday.
While thousands of temporary jobs will be created during the pipeline’s construction, the permanent job tally is much less – once built, the pipeline is expected to employ 104 people with 52 jobs in Kitimat and 12 each in Prince George and Grande Prairie.
“Everybody says there are no jobs, but if you look there are 50 full-time employees in Kitimat and there’s another 200 people involved in tugs, transportation and emergency response. That’s not insignificant,” Eynon argues.