Tuesday’s information session on the proposed Malahat LNG project in the Saanich Inlet just might change a few people’s minds.
As long as they can weed out the bafflegab from the facts and the measured responses from the heckling.
There was enough information to give anyone with an open mind or who was possibly undecided, the skinny on the project and on both the facts and rhetoric surrounding it.
For those who turned up at the meeting to shout slogans and profess the evils of resource extraction, the meeting did nothing. Their minds are already made up.
The presentations ranged from the dispassionate detailing of hazards and risks of the industry, to the flushing characteristics of the Saanich Inlet itself.
There were also the extreme presentations of those who would rather scare people into believing as they do, than examine the issue dispassionately. That said, there is nothing wrong with that kind of passion — it can foster debate and get answers to important questions. That is, as long as the person is willing to hear those answers.
The First Nations debate could very well set the tone for how Steelhead LNG proceeds with its project in the Inlet. On one side, there’s a community trying to lift itself out of poverty by turning to resource extraction. On the other, a community that feels its rights are being tromped on. Will one trump the other? It’s an important question that could determine the outcome.
North Saanich set out to get more information about the Malahat LNG proposal. While there was some, even its proponent could only admit they don’t have all the details worked out — whether some people believe that or not.
All around the District, First Nations communities and the District of Central Saanich have already stated they oppose the project. Formulating a stance at this early stage is going to be an interesting task.
That is, unless you believe all politicians blow whatever way the wind in their electoral area is blowing.
And right now, the prevailing wind on the Saanich Peninsula would appear to be against LNG development in the Saanich Inlet.