Pilot: Industry jeopardizing lives and business

Industry, specifically pipeline, are not hiring local machines and pilots, according to a Terrace-based helicopter pilot.

Craig Roy, a helicopter pilot based in Terrace, has more than 15 years flying experience in the northwest and is unhappy with the helicopter traffic because no northwest-based pilots are working for industry in the area.

Spectra Energy, the company proposing a pipeline that will travel in close proximity to the Skeena River and terminate on the B.C. coast near Kitimat, has helicopters in the air in the northwest constantly to support its project research.

Roy has to travel to Alberta weeks at a time for work and wants an opportunity closer to home.

“You’d think with the growth in the northwest and all the helicopters overhead we would not have to leave town to go to work,” Roy said.

Roy has kept informed of what industry says it brings to the northwest as well.

“I came across an illustrated page the other day about a $25 billion dollar investment and 16,000 jobs in the northwest in the year 2012,” Roy said.

“The brochure fails to mention who is doing these jobs.”

On top of the financial consequences Roy points to what he thinks is the most startling problem.

“I have been present when both Spectra Energy and TransCanada pipelines have given a speech about how important safety and having skilled workers is to them,” Roy said.

“Spectra brought a helicopter company into town and it shortly crashed in the mountains killing the three people aboard and they continued using the same company until their next accident.”

Following the first crash, 14 kilometres west of Terrace near Sleeping Beauty Mountain in June 2012, Spectra refused to hire local machines or pilots, Roy said.

“Unfortunately the only work I or another local operator will attain is when one or perhaps more aircraft will crash, we will then be able to bring out the bodies and wrecked aircraft,” he added.

Roy compares this to Enbridge putting most of the safety of super-tankers on the B.C. coast from Kitimat to the open ocean on local tug boat captains and crew.

“A pilot’s experience is usually very specialized,” Roy said.

The companies that Spectra has hired are based out of Fort St. John, while TransCanada, the company that would build the Northern Gateway pipeline has a federally-owned company hired.

“They are not locally owned nor do they supply local pilots,” Roy said.

“It’s sad I have to leave for work while the inexperienced pilots from abroad are busy flying every day over my house.

“I have a hard time seeing the advantage of such projects.”

Representatives from TransCanada nor Spectra did not return calls before press time.

 

Just Posted

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Lego League provincial champions

Smithers’ Marley and Amelie are B.C. Lego League champions, and are fundraising to compete in Texas.

TSKLH Nation sues Province over Brucejack mine revenue sharing

The Tsetsaut/Skii km Lax Ha seeks to assert rights and title in the area around Pretivm gold mine.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read