Joint review panel snubs Hazelton

Citing safety concerns, the National Energy Board joint review panel has relocated hearings to Smithers from Hazelton.

In a move that has many people scratching their heads, the National Energy Board joint review panel, hearing public comment on Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project, decided to relocate hearings scheduled for July 30, to Smithers from Hazelton.

“This is the kind of thing that continues to taint the whole process,” Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson said.

“It’s an insult and further erodes public trust in the review process.”

The joint review panel cited unrest in Hazelton, specifically among the Gitxsan as the reason why the panel would convene in Smithers as opposed to Hazelton.

“There are a number of documented issues of conflict within the community including a blockade of an office building in Old Hazelton,” Manager, Communications Operations with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Annie Roy said.