Kitimat voices at the Joint Review: Peter G. King

Northwest Coast Energy News will use selected testimony from the Joint Review hearings, where that testimony can easily turned into a web post. Testimony referring to documents, diagrams or photographs will usually not be posted if  such references are required. Depending on workload, testimony may be posted sometime after it originally occurred. Posting will be on the sole editorial judgment of the editor.


I’ve been a resident of Kitimat for 53 years and the issues, as I see them, are economic diversity and challenges. One of the problems we face is urbanization. We end up with whole populations centred in large areas. This may work fine when things are going well, but it doesn’t work fine when things break down. does it work?

In the Vancouver area, people live in Delta and work in North Vancouver or go to university in UBC and live in Abbotsford. This would involve a two-hour commute both ways, totalling four hours in travel.

Then there’s the cost of travel to and from work, counting vehicles, fuel, parking and all extras that go along with it. The commute can cost $40 a day, on average. Of course, this is — there is mass transit, but the problem with mass transit is it sets up in the most economical way for obvious reasons.

But by doing this, it adds an hour to the commute on either end, so now the commute is three hours each way, so there is a trade-off, but it’s equal in the end.

For both people to work with and the same amount of cash out of pocket, the person who drives to work ends up having to work two hours a day more to pay for the commute but by the time — the way home would work out to be the same.

Of course, you could live closer to work, but that involves the same financial trade-off; if you live near your work, your residence will cost more. If you work close to where you live, your job may not pay as well.

Social diversity. Let’s pick up where the home/work example left off. If you live in a small area, without trying, a person’s quality of life increases by adding three hours to their home or leisure time. Since everyone lives within 15-minute drive to work or 30-minute bus ride away, no parking.

Crime is a major social problem in large centralized areas. If there is a crime in Vancouver, there’s thousands of possible suspects over hundreds of square miles and it could take weeks and months to solve the crime. In a small area, you have three possible suspects; one was in the hospital, one was at work, leaving you with one suspect; crime takes eight hours to solve in small areas.

Violence, for instance, if you see a fight in the street in Vancouver area, you do not know either person, so you’re isolated from it. In small areas, there’s a good chance you know both parties; this gives you a greater need to get involved and help solve the issue.

Children. When you go to Vancouver, you seldom see children playing in the street. For one, traffic is so much higher, but making friendship bonds is a problem as well. In small areas, children on the street will go to the same school, play on the same hockey team, shop at the same grocery store, go to the same church. The odds of this happening in a large area is very remote.

Thirty minutes after leaving the Vancouver Airport Terminal, your sinuses plug up. The reason is the concentration of car, truck and industrial pollution in the air. Nature has the ability to clean itself if the concentration levels are not too high, but in large centres we always suffer from bad air quality and water quality from what we have seen earlier with many commuters, most of which is with engines idling.

If I went to a local river and put a teaspoon of oil in a rural river, it would not be noticed by anyone, not by the river, not by the wildlife, but in a large centre you could have the equivalent of one million teaspoons of oil put in river waterways just from the storm sewers.

The concentration of human, chemical waste in the septic sewer systems going into the waterways in Vancouver is evidenced from these problems.

This is why there’s the discussions of dead zones at the mouths of waterways of large populated areas in the world. A horse can carry 10 tonnes on its back as long as it’s done in small amounts over long periods of time. If you put a whole 10 tonnes on a horse’s back at one time, you would kill it, and you don’t have to be a scientist to understand why.

If you’re sitting down and drink four litres of bleach, you would die, but if you diluted it one-part-per-million in water and then drank it over a lifetime, you could drink four litres of bleach and there would be no effects on your body at all because you’d probably have — you’ve not overwhelmed your body. It may have benefits by preventing harmful bacteria’s from increasing in the water.

Chances of a spill. The busiest waterway in the world is the Suez Canal.
There were 7,987 ships of all descriptions passing through it in 2010; that is 22 ships a day. The channel is 24 metres deep and 205 metres wide in 2010. The channel is a single lane and passes at — I hope I pronounce it — Ballah bypass, and in the greater Bitter Lake contains no locks and seawater flows privy through the channel.

Some supertankers are too large to traverse the channel. Others can offload part of their cargo into channel boats, reducing their draft, then transit to reload at the other end of the channel.
The Douglas Channel is 1,400 metres wide at its narrowest part. That is seven times wider than the Suez Canal. The Douglas Channel is also 200 metres deep, that is eight times deeper than the Suez Canal.

Piracy off the Coast of Somalia has been a threat in the Suez Canal since the 21st century. Piracy is not a problem in the Douglas Channel.

War zones. The Suez Canal was a target in World War I, World War II, and a few regional wars, and probably is a target in the near future. Being in a war zone is not a problem for the Douglas Channel.

Global diversity. My family and I are very blessed. We are healthy, wealthy and happy. Do I, as a person, have the right to deny other people in the world the same dreams and blessing? If this permit is denied, people in other areas of the world will have to pay more for energy for different reasons. We see the tsunami, earthquakes putting pressure on Japan and its nuclear power program.

If it is denied, I will be able to pay less for our energy. Globally, is this fair?

If I have all the food and I refuse to sell it to 100 starving people, should I be surprised when they take it from me for force? Should I have the ability to stop other people in the world from getting energy? No. But I have the ability to control how the energy is used in an economic, social, environmentally responsible way.

In conclusion, I would like to encourage the approval of the export licence at Kitimat for economic, social, environmental diversification locally and worldwide.