A small but determined group of 23 people held up placards against the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline in front of MLA Richmond-Steveston John Yap’s office.
Under the drizzle of rain, the peaceful protestors were getting thumbs up by people walking by as well as honks from passing cars.
Lorna Mertz, a longtime Steveston resident, was the woman behind the local demonstration.
“I can only speak for myself, but the reason I got involved was because I think we have the most beautiful coast in the world and I don’t want to see Enbridge’s pipeline pollute it,” said Mertz. “I’m not in favour of fossil fuels and the risk posed by tar sands pipelines and tankers.
“We are linking arms in an unbroken wall of opposition to tankers, tar sands and pipelines in B.C.”
Richmond was only one of more than 60 communities across the province where anti-pipeline events took place Wednesday.
Michelle Li, with daughter Esme Li, seven-months-old, told the News she’d never protested before but felt compelled to do so because of her daughters.
“I want my daughters to be able to eat wild salmon and play on the beach and swim in our ocean,” said Li. “I don’t want to see the coastline ruined.”
Enbridge is proposing to build a pipeline that would take oil from the tar sands in Northern Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. where it would then be shipped via tanker down the coast and beyond.
Barbara Huisman is equally passionate about stopping the project.
“I took a day off work to go to Victoria to take part in that massive rally on the steps of the B.C. Legislature … that’s how passionate I am about this.”
In Victoria, protestors took a 235-metre banner — the size of a typical oil tanker — and unfurled it in front of the legislature to show it’s enormous size, she explained.
“You can’t see that in any pictures but that’s the size of these vessels traversing our coast. I don’t think they can do that safely.
“There is no good technology for cleaning up bitumen (the heaviest, thickest form of petroleum),” added Huisman, who is the owner/management consultant for a quality assurance firm.
Charlie Coleman, a local teacher and passionate environmentalist — who was one of 115 Canadians nominated by All Climate Reality Canada to take part in a three-day climate change conference in which former U.S. vice-president and Nobel Prize Laureate Al Gore was the guest speaker and trainer — also has strong feelings against the pipeline project.
“I’m here because we have to stop using carbon-based fuels and it’s important for all of us to step up and have our voices heard,” said Coleman. “Science tells us that if we don’t change our ways, the world won’t be livable.”
The News knocked on Yap’s office door but was told he was “in cabinet.”