Northern Gateway made its latest pitch to municipal leaders this week at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in Vancouver.
The Prince George-based pipeline company talked about its plan to connect northern Alberta's oilsands with an export port in Kitimat in two small roundtable sessions with delegates on Wednesday.
Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold attended the session in order to get an update on where the company stood with the project, as well as present concerns he's heard from members of his community. With the pipeline set to cross the lake that provides the town's drinking water supply, Strimbold wanted assurances from the company about safety as well as training plans for spill responders.
"We had a good conversation and talked about the potential of communicating with other communities that have pipelines going through their town and understanding what their roles are," Strimbold said during a phone interview from Vancouver on Thursday.
Enbridge vice-president for western access Janet Holder and Northern Gateway president John Carruthers were among the panel of employees the company brought to meet with municipal representatives.
Along with his council colleagues, Strimbold hasn't taken a public position either for or against the $6.5 billion project.
He said he's listened to the concerns brought forward by environmental groups but also understands the possible economic benefits with a pumping station located near the community and the construction jobs the pipeline could generate. Strimbold said he's intrigued about the possibility that the new skills workers could get working on the pipeline could transfer into other areas once construction is complete.
A federal panel has concluded public hearings into the environmental review for the project and is expected to issue a recommendation to the federal government by the end of the year.
The high profile project has received a lot of attention and Strimbold said his community remains divided on whether it should go ahead.
"I think there are folks in our community that are definitely in opposition to the project, and then there are some folks that are allowing the [environmental review] process to take place before they take any type of position," he said.