City of PR hires Dr. Barb Faggetter to research LNG


#1

North Coast Review has revealed that the City of Prince Rupert has hired Dr. Barb Faggetter to research the impact LNG would have on the City’s local environment.

northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … er-to.html

Especially of interest, is that there was no previous mention by council that the city was looking to hire a oceanographer to do work for the city in regards to LNG…in addition Dr. Barb Faggetter has already publicaly condemned the PNW LNG Terminal proposal on Lelu Island and has been very vocal about it.

Why is the city wasting money like this and why was the announcement of this done right at the end of council meeting with absolutely NO information given. Also, just what was Joy Thorkelson’s involvement in this decision, as she was the one to make the hiring announcement. Her involvement with the UFAWU should be a major conflict of interest with this decision. Furthermore, why is the city contracting a oceanographer to do an environmental review of LNG, when there are two environmental assessments being done by the province and the federal government on proposed projects.

Once again the city is wasting money on something that is well outside their jurisdiction…and all of it shrouded in secrecy and lack of information.

For a cash strapped city, we sure know how to spend money on the wrong things…meanwhile our taxes go up and our city infrastructure continues to erode.

The city needs to explain why this decision was made and exactly who agreed to it.


#2

Dr Faggetter stated a clear position about LNG development during the recent CBC forum that is mentioned in the North Coast Review article. The earlier report says:

"Dr. Faggetter pretty well picked up where she left off at her Prince Rupert City Council presentation of July, outlining her concerns over the pace of LNG development on the North Coast and the impact that it could have on the environmental balance in the region.

Of the five participants, she was the one who outlined the most cautious of approaches towards development of LNG terminals for the region. Both from the environmental aspect of the discussion and from the anticipated returns that communities believe they may realize from the development.

She approached that theme of the LNG issue by looking at the recent announcement from the Provincial Government on the tax regime that will be in place on the LNG industry.

Reviewing how the early targets for revenue generation have already been reduced, suggesting that in the past promises have not been kept and that residents of the region should be mindful of how many factors could result in future anticipated revenues to not be delivered as currently expected"
< northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … -part.html >

It is hard to conclude anything other than that the current Mayor and council support that position. Dr Faggetter’s work has not been limited to conducting scientific research; she has gone further and expressed policy positions about LNG development, as the above quote illustrates. That extends to expressing views on tax revenue, although her expertise in that area seems doubtful at best: she is an oceanographer, not an economist.

It’s very disappointing that the current Mayor and council have become partisan over the issue, but choose to express themselves by proxy rather than being plain spoken.

[quote=“bthedog”]

… Also, just what was Joy Thorkelson’s involvement in this decision, as she was the one to make the hiring announcement. Her involvement with the UFAWU should be a major conflict of interest with this decision. …

The city needs to explain why this decision was made and exactly who agreed to it.[/quote]

That is a very good question.

According to a report on Dr Faggetter’s presentation to the Mayor and council last July, she has been funded by UFAWU among others < northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … -with.html >. She would have duties of loyalty to those organizations.

Since it was Councillor Thorkselson who announced the hiring decision, no doubt taken at a closed meeting, it is hard to conclude that she abstained from the decision, as she should have done as a UFAWU official. She really should explain herself.

As if that isn’t enough, a representative of the Northwest BC Benefit Alliance, which is seeking equitable shares of LNG tax revenue on behalf of various municipal governments in the region, got a less than encouraging response from the Mayor and council (although it did give councillor Thorkelson an opportunity to reminisce about being a “radical socialist”).

It seems hard to disagree that getting more money for municipalities to address infrastructure deficits and increased demands on services is a good idea. The Port Edward council has signed on, but the Prince Rupert council seems to be adept at not taking a position < northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … s-its.html >.

Overall the current Mayor and council’s position on LNG development comes across as incoherent. Hopefully some of them will be replaced during the upcoming election.


#3

[quote=“bthedog”]North Coast Review has revealed that the City of Prince Rupert has hired Dr. Barb Faggetter to research the impact LNG would have on the City’s local environment.

northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … er-to.html

Especially of interest, is that there was no previous mention by council that the city was looking to hire a oceanographer to do work for the city in regards to LNG…in addition Dr. Barb Faggetter has already publicaly condemned the PNW LNG Terminal proposal on Lelu Island and has been very vocal about it.

Why is the city wasting money like this and why was the announcement of this done right at the end of council meeting with absolutely NO information given. Also, just what was Joy Thorkelson’s involvement in this decision, as she was the one to make the hiring announcement. Her involvement with the UFAWU should be a major conflict of interest with this decision. Furthermore, why is the city contracting a oceanographer to do an environmental review of LNG, when there are two environmental assessments being done by the province and the federal government on proposed projects.

Once again the city is wasting money on something that is well outside their jurisdiction…and all of it shrouded in secrecy and lack of information.

For a cash strapped city, we sure know how to spend money on the wrong things…meanwhile our taxes go up and our city infrastructure continues to erode.

The city needs to explain why this decision was made and exactly who agreed to it.[/quote]

I want to focus on a key thing you said here: “spend money on the wrong things”. I don’t see a city spending money on learning about oceanic science as a waste of money. YOU see something as unholy and wrong with this. That is YOUR opinion. And as a fellow taxpayer I don’t see anything wrong with hiring a respected scientist to provide information on LNG projects.

As far as I am aware, Fagetter is not against LNG development on the North Coast. She has not said that she opposes LNG development. Like any good scientist, she has been precise with her condemnation: she opposes Petronas on scientific grounds that the potential impact to Flora Bank could have devastating long term impacts on a key salmopn migratory route.

She is one of … if not THE … foremost expert on North Coast ocean ecology. oceanecology.ca/publications1.htm Her background is impeccable.

The way this has been handled, however, is ridiculous. The city should have told the public this is something they were going to do. I don’t appreciate that at all.

My issue is not the hiring of Fagetter. It is the fashion in which it was done.


#4

Could the city be hiring her to poopoo the Lelu Island proposal in hopes of getting a terminal built on PR land so the city of PR would then get more benefits?
Seems like fighting the local natives in court and now seemingly opposing what is happening with Petronas is very scary business. I fear or current Mayor will be returned and make it difficult for LNG development to go ahead unless it is on city property.


#5

[quote=“chookie”]Could the city be hiring her to poopoo the Lelu Island proposal in hopes of getting a terminal built on PR land so the city of PR would then get more benefits?
Seems like fighting the local natives in court and now seemingly opposing what is happening with Petronas is very scary business. I fear or current Mayor will be returned and make it difficult for LNG development to go ahead unless it is on city property.[/quote]

But if the current mayor and council are returned, then does that mean they are doing what taxpayers want them to do? This is their record.


#6

[quote=“TerriblePerson”]

[quote=“chookie”]Could the city be hiring her to poopoo the Lelu Island proposal in hopes of getting a terminal built on PR land so the city of PR would then get more benefits?
Seems like fighting the local natives in court and now seemingly opposing what is happening with Petronas is very scary business. I fear or current Mayor will be returned and make it difficult for LNG development to go ahead unless it is on city property.[/quote]

But if the current mayor and council are returned, then does that mean they are doing what taxpayers want them to do? This is their record.[/quote]

Much like Harper and Clark I suppose.


#7

in the middle of an election they go and hire a person opposed to the Petronas LNG without a tender, if they wanted her views they could have read her report to the enviromental panel, and I thought all hires like this one had to go to tender. Council should be ashamed of themselves they are making it look like they are against Petronas which would benefit both us and Port Ed


#8

So who says she is an expert on Flora bank?Or anything else?I have talked to her and while I agree that Lelu Is is the wrong place,she did NOT come across as an expert!

More stupidity on the part of council,just remember this come election time…none of the above!!!


#9

Provide information for what purpose? That’s not a rhetorical question.

Do the current Mayor and council want to be better informed so that they can take positions on LNG projects? Any position they take is meaningless unless they present evidence to the environmental review panel. It’s much like going to court.

If people want to present evidence against Pacific Northwest LNG to the panel, that’s fair enough, but what would the City gain by doing that? Do they present the same evidence and use the same expert witness as UFAWU and the environmental groups so that the latter’s submissions are effectively subsidized?

The panel will deal with the Flora Bank issues whether the City takes a position or not, which is part of the reason why Petronas has already made design changes.

Meanwhile, it probably would have been a good idea to get some scientific advice about having LNG facilities on Lot 444, where the City does have a say, since it is City-owned land. Oddly enough, they seem to have concluded that it is okay.

A company has been formed to take title to the property (to get around financial restrictions in the Community Charter) and they have proceeded with re-zoning the land for LNG purposes, although a decision by Imperial and the environmental review are both a long ways off. Councillor Thorkelson reassured that the watershed will be adequately protected because Imperial would have watchmen patrolling the perimeter. Is that it? Is that all the science that is required?

I’ve never understood why people support Joy Thorkelson. I used to see Jack Mussallem as a pro-business mayor, but I wonder if somewhere along the way he gave up and decided if you can’t beat, join em.


#10

to me Joy is a one issue councillor if it does not have anything to do with the fishermen she is against it.


#11

Joy is a tireless advocate for workers in this town. I appreciate her passionate support of the labour movement.


#12

[quote=“hitest”]

Joy is a tireless advocate for workers in this town. I appreciate her passionate support of the labour movement.[/quote]

Coming from a trade union family, having joined the IWA at age 16, done picket duty, handed out leaflets and all the rest, I understand the sentiment.

Outside of the public sector there isn’t much of a labour movement left in Prince Rupert to advocate for, those that are left are eminently capable of advocating for themselves, and that’s not the job of the Mayor and council.

They would do well by focusing more on their jurisdiction, including mundane things like making sure that the swimming pool has water in it and that safe drinking water comes out of the tap.


#13

How true!

Who voted in favour of hiring Faggetter? What a stupid thing to do just before election time. That is unless you’re trying to win over some environmentalist votes.


#14

Wow! It’s great to hear that the city has hired a scientist to conduct research on the proposed LNG developments, better yet while providing funding to a deserving a local who is educated on the subject!!! This totally makes sense, lets learn more about the risks involved with theses projects so that we don’t potentially end up shooting ourselves in the foot sometime in the future!!! Here, here for Prince Rupert City Council attempting to grasp the Precautionary Principle!!! GOLD STAR!!!


#15

I am very hopeful that one of the three mayoralty candidates will replace Jack. Lee will get my vote.


#16

and instead of wasting our money on hiring her why not just go to the Enviromental Review Panel website and just read her reports? I know that only makes sense.


#17

It’s hard to know what the council is thinking; as with so much else they have revealed very little, notwithstanding that environmental issues are inherently public.

Are they applying the Precautionary Principle? To date they have not done that with Lot 444. Amending bylaw 3351, 2014, which has passed 1st and 2nd readings, would make most of Lot 444 Heavy Industrial Use M-5.

Absence of information about the potential consequences of having an LNG plant upwind from residential areas and adjacent to a public watershed as a critical resource is not evidence that industrial development there is environmentally acceptable. If the Precautionary Principle was applied, the City would defer making any decisions, or make the most cautious decision, eg zoning Lot 444 as Public Facilities P-1.

Did they hire Dr Faggetter to gather scientific information before finalizing any land use decisions there? That is possible, but seems doubtful in view of her specialty. Again, we really don’t know the council’s thinking because they haven’t said.

Would studying the Pacific Northwest LNG project be an application of the Precautionary Principle? I don’t think so. The Precautionary Principle applies when scientific information is absent or inconclusive. The purpose of an environmental review by CEAA and the EAO is to gather sufficient information that science-based decisions can be made, such that the Precautionary Principle does not apply.

From what was said earlier, Dr Faggetter does not oppose LNG; she just opposes the Pacific Northwest LNG project, which is farthest along the review process. She has reportedly been funded by UFAWU and others to support their opposition to the proposed project.

They of course are free to do that. They can spend their money however they want. CEAA and the EAO accept information from anyone who files as an intervenor. Pacific Northwest LNG has amended the proposal to reflect new information. The review panels will look at the evidence both ways and make science-based decisions.

  1. Why does the current Mayor and council consider it appropriate to spend public funds on hiring an expert who opposes the project and, as has been pointed out, has already presented information? What is gained by that?

  2. Why do they think that the City should even be involved in a project that is outside of their jurisdiction? Some citizens are no doubt concerned, but then it’s not the role of a Mayor and council to take a position or start writing cheques every time someone has concerns. They are supposed to represent the “public interest”, which balances differing interests within a community (see s1 of the Community Charter).

  3. Councillor Thorkelson’s announcement of the decision suggests that she was involved in making the decision. Jack Mussallem has a lot of knowledge about municipal procedures; there’s no doubt about that. He should advise whether councillor Thorkelson recused herself from the decision, considering that she holds an office with UFAWU and that Dr Faggetter has been funded by UFAWU to support their positions on LNG issues.

  4. If the Mayor considers that councillor Thorkelson was not in a conflict of interest and did not contravene the Community Charter (Part 4, Division 6) he should explain how he reached that conclusion.


#18

[quote=“BTravenn”]

Provide information for what purpose? That’s not a rhetorical question.

Do the current Mayor and council want to be better informed so that they can take positions on LNG projects? Any position they take is meaningless unless they present evidence to the environmental review panel. It’s much like going to court.

If people want to present evidence against Pacific Northwest LNG to the panel, that’s fair enough, but what would the City gain by doing that? Do they present the same evidence and use the same expert witness as UFAWU and the environmental groups so that the latter’s submissions are effectively subsidized?

The panel will deal with the Flora Bank issues whether the City takes a position or not, which is part of the reason why Petronas has already made design changes.

Meanwhile, it probably would have been a good idea to get some scientific advice about having LNG facilities on Lot 444, where the City does have a say, since it is City-owned land. Oddly enough, they seem to have concluded that it is okay.

A company has been formed to take title to the property (to get around financial restrictions in the Community Charter) and they have proceeded with re-zoning the land for LNG purposes, although a decision by Imperial and the environmental review are both a long ways off. Councillor Thorkelson reassured that the watershed will be adequately protected because Imperial would have watchmen patrolling the perimeter. Is that it? Is that all the science that is required?

I’ve never understood why people support Joy Thorkelson. I used to see Jack Mussallem as a pro-business mayor, but I wonder if somewhere along the way he gave up and decided if you can’t beat, join em.[/quote]

Like you, I have no answers. Perhaps the city is heading to LOT 444 first and studying that. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe the whole thing is an environmental scam to steal more money from us hard working taxpayers. I’m not sure. But we still have a recreational advisor, Brent (sp?) du Maurier (sp?) working here. And he’s been here since the spring. And we have hired a new director of rec. And no one cares about that! So why do we care that the city has contracted out an environmetnal advisor? Do we know how much Fagetter has been contracted for? Is it BIG money? Has anyone filed an FOI?

I get that its easy to slam city council – and with this council, rightfully so. But I want some facts on this. I hope Shaun and Martina are reading this and do some digging. It could swing the entire election.


#19

Who should the city get expert opinion from? Many people don’t understand that the environmental consulting firm Stantec, who wrote the report on PNW are hired and paid for by Petronas! I personally thought their report was biased. For instance they used sediment samples from south of Lelu Island to characterize the dredge area even though it is known that the polluted pulp mill plume did not flow south it flowed north up past Ridley Island and there were samples from that north area which showed contamination and which Stantec did not include in the application.


#20

[quote=“hitest”]

Joy is a tireless advocate for workers in this town. I appreciate her passionate support of the labour movement.[/quote]

I am a “worker” in this town and she certainly does not advocate for me. She is all about the fishing industry and that is it. She is way to partial to the fishing industry and is a past “radical socialist” that alone should be enough to make people never vote for her. I never have and NEVER will.

She is the least impartial councilor we have…I am amazed she gets the support she does.

The fishing industry is no longer this area’s #1 industry, it is not longer what it was and never will be again. They have done it to themselves by overfishing for decades.

The shipping industry is the industry that is going to sustain this city and help it grow…this is the industry that needs to be the main focus of council, but still be able to foster and sustain our secondary industries (like fishing and forestry). That is our reality TODAY…Joy and the rest of the fishermen in this city have had their day in the sun, and failing to recognize what industry is this city’s current bread and butter is only going to land City Hall further in the gutter. City Hall deserves all the scrutiny and criticism it is getting…it has been one fuck-up after a LONG line of fuck-ups. The whole lot of them needs to be shown the door.