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Letter to the editor: Opposition appreciated

Too Close 2 Home thanks everyone who thoughtfully opposed the proposed West Coast Olefins petrochemical developments in/around Prince George.
22 West Coast Olefins protest
A group of Pineview residents who farm the land surrounding the site of a proposed petrochemical extractor to be built by West Coast Olefins Ltd., gathers in front of the proposed site in the background. From left, back row, are Gary Wood, Carol Wood, Marilyn Murray, Joe Cvenkel, Judith Wolfe and Sheila Lewis, crouching, from left, are Sharon Bonthoux and Lyn Dilliard.

Too Close 2 Home thanks everyone who thoughtfully opposed the proposed West Coast Olefins petrochemical developments in/around Prince George. Most recently, WCOL proposed a natural gas extraction plant for Pineview, in a beautiful area in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

We wish to thank our amazing neighbours 'Grasslands Not Gaslands' and other active citizens, for their dedicated defence of their homes, the region’s agricultural land, and the community we love. Thousands of signatures were collected and hundreds of letters submitted. Many community and Environmental Law Centre meeting hours contributed to pushing back against the undesirable non-farm use requested by WCOL, as well as its ties to a larger set of polluting plants (just because something has been removed from a corporate website does not mean it is really gone—as we have seen before with WCOL).

Thank you to all who have repeatedly encouraged WCOL to withdraw its plans for Prince George and surrounding area. We thank those Regional Directors who, on Dec. 16, chose to listen to and be responsive to Pineview residents and others concerned about the WCO proposed non-farm use and potential impacts on the area’s future.

United, thousands of us have won an important battle for the social, environmental and economic sustainability of our community. However, we are also aware that WCOL proposals may rise from the dead again. Too Close 2 Home, Grasslands Not Gaslands, PACHA and many others remain vigilant towards potential future unwanted zombie proposal(s).  We will organize again to protect our treasured community. We do not want to become a sacrifice zone for unwanted industries that will primarily benefit others.

We will raise these concerns in upcoming local and regional elections. We will continue to imagine development opportunities that do not include sacrificing landscapes, neighbourhoods, and environmental quality. We are impressed with this loud and clear citizen pressure on the city and regional governments to engage more with residents and issues of concern.

As the municipal election approaches, we ask you to consider: Which leaders have the best, most representative visions for our community?  Who will support citizens that want jobs but no longer want to sacrifice air, water, or green spaces to get them?  Who will recognize that a Lheidli T’enneh “no” to a project or proponent should be a “hard no”? Who is ready to lead us into the healthier and more sound future that we’re fighting for?

Annie Booth, Marie Hay, Zoë Meletis, Susanne Weber

Prince George