Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson

Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson

Environment critic tours Stikine

Spencer Chandra Herbert met with hereditary chiefs, elected officials, conservation groups, business people and guide/outfitters

NDP environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert heard a consistent message when talking to people in the region about the area’s multitude of proposed projects.

“There’s a reason people live here,” Herbert said on Friday during his stop in Smithers. “‘We need to protect what we have here while also embracing potential projects which could bring more prosperity but not at all cost,’ is what I’ve heard people say over and over.”

Representing Vancouver-West End, one of the smallest ridings geographically, Herbert was also exposed to some of the challenges that face Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson when he travels around his riding, which is geographically the largest in B.C.

Herbert had the opportunity to meet with hereditary chiefs, elected officials, conservation groups, business people and guide/outfitters from Terrace to Smithers.

“Given the huge number of projects proposed or ongoing up here, I thought it was particularly important for me to get a sense of what it means on the ground,” he said.

With the legislature sitting beginning on Feb. 11, Donaldson said it was a particularly good time for Herbert to visit.

“Spencer being here and visiting the communities along the way is going to allow him to have the experiences and stories from the area at the forefront of his mind,” he said.

“It won’t just be me standing up and talking about it in the legislature.”

Earlier in the week, in Terrace, Herbert said one of the strongest cases pipeline opponents can make against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is an economic one.

“The local economy is stronger without the Enbridge pipeline and all of its risks,” he said.

“This area’s known as an incredible area for wilderness tourism, for fishing, for all of those kinds of things that have drawn people here and kept people here. You have to respect that economy rather than saying we’ll give you the equivalent of one or two McDonald’s in terms of jobs and risk all of that.”

-With files from the Terrace Standard