SAINT JOHN – This week, nine local residents and landowners requested to sit in as observers at TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline Community Liaison Committee meeting held at the Hampton Inn, Saint John, on Wednesday, October 14. Blocking their entrance, a security guard informed them that only members of the Committee were permitted at the meeting.
Residents then asked to speak with a TransCanada representative. A short discussion took place with Pamela McKay, Trans Canada’s community consultant, which was videotaped. Ms. McKay informed the residents that TransCanada did not have a policy to allow observers at their Energy East community liaison meetings and that the residents would not be permitted to enter the meeting room.
“Unlike other local industrial committees, TransCanada denies entry to local citizens,“ said Saint John resident David Thompson who was part of the group kept out of the meeting. Mr Thompson has a long history of participating in industrial liaison meetings, and presently sits on two other industrial community liaison committees in Saint John. “We simply wanted to sit quietly and listen to tonight’s committee meeting.”
“Open, transparent, and democratic public participation should be the operating principles of each and every community liaison committee,” added Thompson. “The National Energy Board should be required to practice this.”
“It’s a straw horse; it’s dishonest that TransCanada will go to National Energy Board and use this Community Liaison Committee as fulfilling part of their community outreach and consultation,” remarked Colin Seeley after being refused entry. “As a person with a proposed pipeline running across my property, I have not been contacted since TransCanada canacelled Cacouna, when it was announced that the project was being delayed for two years. Meanwhile, TransCanada has been pushing ahead with work on the project such as the recent borehole testing in Red Head.”
Leslie Hillman, Red Head resident and member of Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association (RHACPA), was also disappointed to be refused entry, “TransCanada should respect the interests, the health, and the well-being of the residents and make the meeting open to the citizen observers.”
Teresa Debly, a Red Head resident whose family property has already been impacted by industrial development in the area, says, “Several residents who have considerable experience with other industrial community committees, including myself, have repeatedly requested to be accepted as Committee members, but have been denied each time by TransCanada. Back in February, I was utterly shocked when TransCanada hired a retired police officer to prevent landowners from attending these meetings. We are calling upon TransCanada to immediately open up their Community Liaison Committee meeting.”
A copy of this News Release and the web link to the video is also being sent to the National Energy Board.
David Thompson, Saint John, 506-635-1297
Leanne Sutton, Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association, 506-654-7857