Sooke mayor airs concern over Trans Mountain pipeline

Mayor Maja Tait took a stern message to a federal panel in Victoria

For years, Sooke residents have demonstrated their disapproval of the expansion of oil tanker traffic going through coastal B.C. waters.

Local voters overwhelmingly passed a plebiscite  in 2014 demanding the district join other municipalities in renewing and restating its opposition to tanker traffic.

On Monday, Mayor Maja Tait took a stern message to a federal panel in Victoria which is gathering more feedback about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Texas-based Kinder Morgan is seeking federal approval to triple capacity on the existing Trans Mountain line, which moves diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to Burnaby.

[I took] the message that Sooke residents are opposed to any expansion of oil tanker traffic on our coast,” Tait said.

“People and the environment are at risk.”

The project was given approval, subject to 157 conditions, by the National Energy Board in May, and the federal government must make a final decision by the end of the year.

Sooke’s opposition to oil tanker traffic dates back several years.

In 2012, Sooke wrote a letter to the federal minister of environment outlining constituent opposition to tanker traffic expansion. They urged him to support credible public consultation before deciding whether or not to back pipeline projects that would depend on marine vessels to transport oil.

It was followed in 2014 when Transition Sooke made a presentation to ask for the plebiscite.

“This [presentation] is further to following the wishes of Sooke residents who don’t want oil tanker traffic in local waters,” Tait said, adding council’s opposition to the project remains as well.

Along with Victoria, the panel met with stakeholders in Kamloops, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Burnaby, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Jasper.