Georgia Strait Alliance is the only citizens' group focused on protecting the marine environment in and around the whole Strait of Georgia – Canada's most at-risk natural environment, and the place where 70% of British Columbians live, work and play. We are committed to a future for our region that includes clean water and air, healthy wild salmon runs, rich marine life and natural areas, and sustainable communities.

September 27, 2013

Meet our Morale Officer, Miss Beazley!

Beazley's first time in a boat
I'm a very fortunate person, for many reasons. Not only do I find my job incredibly rewarding, but I also get to bring my dog to work. I mean, how awesome is that!

Miss Beazley is an Australian Shepherd crossed with I-don't-know-what. She is one of 18 pups born in a barn in Cedar on Vancouver Island, and her new home with me was at the north end of Georgia Strait on Sonora Island.

Beazley Passage between Hoskyn and Okisollo Channels (an ocean rapid pass near our former Discovery Islands home) is the origin of her name. It is a bit of a misnomer as my dog is not only gentle and sweet, but afraid of rough water, while Beazley Pass can be quite a wild ride at full flood.

Beazley is so loveable that our ED Christianne gave her the title of Morale Officer. Having her in the office lifts everyone's spirits, and she's my personal morale officer too. She has been with me through some pretty rough waters, both literally and figuratively.

This line of work can be very challenging, and social and legislative change is often a very time consuming and arduous process, to say the least. So simple little things like bringing Beazley to the office mean the world to me.

Thank you Georgia Strait Alliance! And Beazley says 'woof'!

September 18, 2013

Helping North Vancouver make up its mind about Kinder Morgan

As federal Ministers prepare to head west to beat the drum for tar sands pipelines, one local government took a more balanced approach. Last week, the District of North Vancouver held a public information session to allow local residents to hear both sides of the argument and make up their own minds about whether the risks of Kinder Morgan’s expansion plan outweigh its benefits.

Speaking at the North Van public meeting

I was invited to share GSA’s concerns as part of a panel that included representatives from Kinder Morgan, Port Metro Vancouver and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.  I talked about the disastrous environmental, community and economic impacts of an oil spill in North Van’s ocean backyard; the fact that, as we have been warned time and time again, we have nowhere near the physical, human or financial resources required to clean up a massive spill of conventional crude, let alone much riskier diluted bitumen; and that approval of the Kinder Morgan project would guarantee a ‘carbon spill’ with every tanker load of fuel that’s burned, and lock us into an unsustainable future that most British Columbians don’t want.

Much of the audience apparently shared our concerns, and Kinder Morgan was given a tough grilling during the Q&A. Some of the most pointed questions were about exactly what chemicals are contained in the ‘diluent’ that is mixed with bitumen to allow it to flow through the pipeline (the answer was unclear), and why Kinder Morgan’s research claims diluted bitumen would float for 10 days, while other studies suggest it would sink much sooner.

But the comment that stuck with me the most came from Reuben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. He said: don’t take my word for it, or Kinder Morgan’s – find out what’s going on for yourself. In that spirit, here’s a link to a full recording and news coverage of the evening.  

If you’re a North Vancouver resident and you have concerns about Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline, now is the time to speak up. Unlike most other municipalities in the Lower Mainland, which have expressed their opposition to the Kinder Morgan proposal, the District of North Vancouver has yet to take a position. Councillors are making up their minds right now, so please reach out to them and share your concerns.

If you don’t live in North Van, you can find out where your local government stands here. If yours isn’t on the list, why not ask them to hold a similar public meeting to help them – and community members – make up their minds about Kinder Morgan?