Kitimat plebiscite says no to Northern Gateway
General view of the Kitimat harbour. Voters in the B.C. city, which is the proposed terminus of the Northern Gateway pipeline, voted against the project. (EDMONTON SUN/File)
The citizens of Kitimat, B.C., took to the polls Saturday for what would no doubt be the biggest vote of their lives.
In the end, they made their discontent with the Northern Gateway pipeline project known as the unofficial results of Saturday's non-binding plebiscite came in with 1,278 (41.6%) voting for and 1,793 (58.4%) voting against the project, casting doubt on the future of the controversial pipeline.
The town has been bombarded with heavy campaigning on both sides of the Northern Gateway campaign, with lawn signs supporting and opposing the project dotting the landscape.
Both sides have also launched advertising campaigns on local radio stations and in local newspapers, and teams of door-knockers have been busy in recent weeks, too.
Anyone who has lived in Kitimat for the past 30 days was eligible to vote. Some 900 early ballots were cast, nearly doubling the 470 votes cast in advance polls during the most recent municipal election.
Kitimat is the final stop in the route of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline — taking 525,000 daily barrels of Alberta's oilsands oil to markets in Asia — and will be home to a Marine Terminal, which would house two ship berths and storage for three condensate tanks and 11Êpetroleum tanks.
The $6.5-billion project would see the construction of two pipelines — one carrying petroleum products west to Kitimat and another carrying natural-gas condensate back to Alberta.
Proponents of the pipeline claim the project will create 380 long-term jobs and nearly 1,110 construction jobs for Albertans.
The pipeline would run 1,177 kilometres, with 520 kilometres running through Alberta and 660 kilometres in B.C.
— with files from Bryn Weese