A few dozen people gathered at Herb Gardner Park Thursday for the Kootenay to Kitimat Caravan’s rally to gather support protesting the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline project.
The Caravan’s four members, dubbed the “geezer gang,”all hail from in and around Nelson. They left Nelson last Monday and are on a 10-day venture, stopping to connect with communities along the way.
At the helm is Keith Wiley who, back in February, began hosting a number of informational events in Nelson to raise awareness about the tar sands and pipeline project.
“People there said we should do something more and send a delegation along the pipeline route,” Wiley said. “We’re having a great time and meeting a lot of supportive people.”
On Wednesday the group marched up and down the market in Kamloops chanting, “No pipeline, no tankers, no problem,” the slogan used by groups opposing the pipeline project.
In Williams Lake people also repeated the slogan, as Wiley called it out. Describing Wiley as the lead singer, and the other three as the chorus, Tom Nixon credits Wiley for leading the caravan.
“It was all his idea to go to the people that live along Highway 16 all the way to Kitimat to find out what they want us to do. What can the south end of the province do to help? We’re collecting contacts and names of people. It’s been great,” Nixon said.
Addressing the crowd in Williams Lake, Wiley read out a proclamation supporting people living along the pipeline route,
“We support you and your right to refuse the pipeline’s access to your lands, communities and waters,” Wiley said, explaining the group will deliver the proclamation to the people in Kitimat.
Whistler resident Kim Slater, who is running the equivalent of the pipeline’s length — 1,170 kilometres — to raise awareness about clean energy, was in Williams Lake and joined in the rally.
She began the run on July 8.
“My focus is on what the alternatives are to the pipeline and growing the tar sands in general. I’m looking to communities for ideas around clean energy, how we can redesign our communities to make them more efficient and to explore what prosperity looks like in different terms than how the oil companies and our leaders are defining it,” Slater said.
BC NDP leader Adrian Dix was also in Williams Lake and attended the presentation.
“British Columbia takes all the risks with this pipeline, which are considerable, which everyone agrees with, including the premier, and we get none of the benefits. I think this is a fundamental question for our democracy and in the case of British Columbia, the reason you have to be heard and we have to be heard is that everyone that has participated in this process has put an opinion forward except our government.”
Instead of being discouraged by that, Dix said the government should be encouraged to get involved.
“We have to work together to make sure that it’s a no to the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline and that it’s a yes to communities being sustained in a better way,” Dix said.