Municipal governments in the Peace are upset over a November letter signed by Whistler mayor Jack Crompton asking Canadian Natural Resources Ltd to pay for the costs of climate change.
Similar letters havebeen sent by other B.C. municipalities to companies in the oil and gas industry as part of a campaign by West Coast Environmental Law.
Municipalities including Dawson Creek and Pouce Coupe, as well as the Peace River Regional District, have all agreed to send letters of their own expressing their disappointment with the campaign and of their support of the industry.
“When this first came out, especially from a town like Whistler that most likely wouldn’t even exist if there’s no way to get there, I was kind of surprised,” said PRRD board chair Brad Sperling.
The regional district also agreed to send a letter to the Union of BC Municipalities asking the organization to discontinue using Whistler and Victoria as locations to host the annual convention of provincial municipal leaders. Victoria was also one of the municipalities who sent such a letter as part of WCEL's campaign.
“This is about our disappointment with the decision, as well it’s more expensive,” said Bumstead.
“People who say this, that we got to do something different, it’s the consumers that are driving the bus, Bumstead said. "If you want to do something different, do something different — stop burning natural gas.”
Said Pouce Coupe mayor Lorraine Michetti, “I will never attend a UBCM if it’s at Whistler again.”
Dawson Creek councillor Blair Lekstrom, a former provincial minister in charge of B.C.'s energy, mining, and petroleum resources, said Canada is rich in resources that it has developed to the benefit of the country.
“People have to get their head around the fact that we use this resource. We’re a resource rich nation, we use it, we’re responsible in how we develop it, and the oil and gas companies are improving every day in what they do,” Lekstrom said.
“It certainly makes a person rethink the communities you’ll go visit in the future if that’s how they’re going to [act]. Our livelihoods are based around oil and gas, our families, our friends, they work in the industry, this is how they provide for their families. To have municipalities take that stand I have very little respect for.”
Austin Cozicar covers Dawson Creek and the South Peace region of Northeast B.C. Have a news tip? Email Austin at firstname.lastname@example.org.