Pipelines and the Pacific Coast: Opening the Floor
Natural gas production and transport is currently a much-debated issue in BC, and the debate is often heated and not always productive. With a grant from the Real Estate Foundation, Waterlution, a water learning organization and facilitator of multi-stakeholder dialogue, developed a program that would allow for collaborative exploration, discussion and problem solving around natural gas production and transport, with a particular focus on the proposed Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project, its impact on the natural environment, and freshwater sources.
During the month-long program, which was offered in the Kitimat-Stikine and Bulkley-Nechako regions, they held three community visioning sessions in Kitimat, Smithers and Terrace (which included residents from surrounding townships of Burns Lake and Houston) and one weekend workshop. This brought together diverse stakeholders, including local government, First Nations, industry, small businesses and non-profit organizations through the inclusive and innovative approach of scenario planning, and provided a forum that fostered positive dialogue and collaboration.
Together they came up with four overarching scenarios for the region as a whole, framed in the context of social, cultural, political, economic and international trends, which will be the basis for supporting ongoing dialogue and strategic planning in these communities as liquid natural gas activities remain at the forefront. Waterlution was able to adapt the process and content to meet the needs and the priorities of each community, and developed a strong partnership with a local organization, the Skeena Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics, that helped facilitate the process.