Editor’s Note: Summer School
July 1, 2014
A confession, to start. I've lived in this province for 30 years, yet I've seen hardly any of it. I'm good on Metro Vancouver (I'm great on the Brewery District), and I'd give myself a solid B for Vancouver Island. Farther afield, though, and it's mostly terra incognita — a string of places I only consider when I watch returns maps on election night.
I'd love to experience more (retirement project?) because I'm a proud British Columbian, yes, but also because discussions of our economic future always have a slightly theoretical quality for me. Enbridge's Northern Gateway project involves cities like Kitimat that I've never visited, and sums of money that are so massive as to appear equally imaginary.
Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain project stands at a more comprehensible scale — at least it terminates in Burnaby. I've been there. Like many British Columbians, I see benefits and risks in the proposed expansion of pipelines linking the tar sands to our port. Gregor Robertson's recent fight with the National Energy Board overseeing the application, however, was galvanizing for me. It's heartening to see politicians stand up for their constituents and their principles. (I also approve of Joyce Murray recently demanding in the House of Commons that First Nations be heard in Northern Gateway deliberations.) Robertson's questions about democratic process and the need to consider big-picture costs — climate change, say — have motivated me to do what I should have from the beginning: research and read for myself what is involved.
That's my summer project, which sounds dour, but this issue is so full of tips on great new patios, craft beers, and gelato that I don't mind doing some research while I'm checking them out (and dreaming of this Okanagan getaway). Especially given the sobering thought that such projects carry at their heart considerable risk to our main renewable resource: the beauty that garners us over $13 billion in annual tourism. A big, theoretical number, but one I'd like to get to know quite intimately.
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