TransCanada acknowledged the division their Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline has created at Smithers’ town council meeting last night.
“We absolutely never wanted it to get to this point and we worked for years now to find a mutually-agreeable solution for the parties involved,” said Kiel Giddens, public affairs manager at TransCanada.
“I won’t try to downplay it … this has actually been a challenging time for our project.”
In his presentation, Giddens gave an update on the temporary solution reached between CGL and the Wetʼsuwetʼen.
“In January we were pleased to reach a positive solution on a temporary basis, enabling us to peacefully cross the bridge and the public access road allowing work to progress,” he said.
“We really do credit this achievement to a commitment to respectful and meaningful dialogue demonstrated by all parties involved with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and with the RCMP.”
Giddens also addressed the claims of Indigenous artifacts found at one of CGL’s proposed work sites.
“We chose to voluntarily suspend work at the site while claims of a discovery of artifacts were investigated,” he said.
“These archaeological assessments are being finalized and work is scheduled to resume once those are completed in the coming weeks.”
During council’s question period, mayor Taylor Bachrach asked Giddens what TransCanada learned from the conflict between their company’s development and Wetʼsuwetʼen opposition to the pipeline.
“I’m just wondering, in the debriefing that your company did, what did you learn from that experience and if you could do it again … how would TransCanada approach that differently?” Bachrach asked.
“I think on our end one thing we did learn is that continuous communication is absolutely critical and that’s with local community leaders but it’s also with the general public,” Giddens responded.
He added that TransCanada estimates the CGL development will create 2500 jobs over a four-year period within its proposed development area.