Andru McCracken, EDITOR
Even as Valemount and Clearwater begin to blossom from the investment flowing to the Trans Mountain pipeline, Blue River is left out. What have they done to be excluded from one of the biggest local infrastructure investments in our lifetime?
Ian Anderson, to his credit, faced some of the locals on a teleconference, but his reassurances left them cold. Proof, one supposes, is in the pudding.
I’ve made enquiries about the impact of Anderson’s bold pronouncement – four days later there are no new bookings for pipeline workers in Blue River. I’m told the guy has some sway. He is, afterall, the president of the pipeline.
I hope some pipeline workers will read Anderson’s comments and take up his offer to relocate to Blue River. It is an awesome place, and while the Blue River Campground has become a demilitarized zone for the Tiny House Warriors, most other places in the community are just as they always were, sleepy, nice, jaw droppingly beautiful.
For the record
I’ve never been a believer that this pipeline expansion would make a long term economic difference to our community. I called this a short term economic development project for the valley. At best it was the equivalent of a shopping spree in a candy store. Empty calories and the peril of cavities. Good honest nutritious community economic development takes time. It is about a lasting impact, building capacity, becoming better. The number of permanent jobs brought by the pipeline will be minimal if not nil. Communities aren’t three year projects. Done right, they last lifetimes.
Eating one’s hat
That’s all changed with COVID-19. A lot of my favourite places to eat were in a touch and go situation. I have the sense that Trans Mountain will mean the difference between entrepreneurs and their families being able to squeak by, or shuttering. Trans Mountain has clear economic benefits, at least north of Albreda River, and even if they only last for a few years it’s a critical time.
I’ll be honest that I have questions about the environmental impact of the pipeline. I’m confident the pipeline should and could be as good as the one built in the 50s. I’ve been here 20 years and haven’t witnessed a local spill. I’m glad of that and I hope it continues, but I get the fear and loathing of people on the coast.
They bear the risk of a tanker spill and that would be catastrophic for them. I believe that’s where support for the Tiny House Warriors comes from.
Who are we?
Blue River is taking a pummeling here. On one hand they’ve got the Tiny House Warriors re-spelling Canada with three k’s and calling everyone with another view white supremacists, on the other, pipeline workers and people with Alberta plates run away in horror (one lady lost a back window to a rock and thought she’d been shot at). It’s bad. But the Tiny House Warriors are shooting no one, unless it’s with cameras. They say things we don’t want to hear, but their insults, I’ve found, aren’t fatal.
What I would like to see is the sort of response we normally see when catastrophic things happen to our friends and fellow residents. Without fanning the flames that the Tiny House Warriors are hoping will catch, can we not do something to support people in this community who are hurting as a result?
Can we not support the Blue River Campground in some other way besides campaigning for police intervention?
Blue River Campground is, by no fault of their own, ground zero of a massive environmental protest. Whatever you believe about the protest and protestors, could we just look at what has happened to a community member (in this case a business) acting in good faith?
They have been hit by a natural catastrophe. They are in distress and through no fault of their own. As a community, wouldn’t we normally pitch in?
The company that will reap the rewards of this project should start by renting out half of the campground, and leaving it vacant if they have to, or moving some storage mobiles to the outside perimeter, emergency nap trailers maybe.
The company ought to take whatever measures are fit, positive, moral and kind to alleviate the stress that the workers and owners are facing daily. If they don’t, the rest of us should step in somehow and ensure that the campground doesn’t continue to suffer needlessly.
Direct action, Ian Anderson style
If you are a worker building the new pump station in Blue River, why don’t you save yourself two hours of commute time and a helluva COVID-19 risk in the short bus and book a nice quiet place in the community where you work? Your decision will help Blue River keep the doors open during a difficult time and you’ll want to stay there forever. Just like the Tiny House Warriors. It’s that nice.