This year, my partner and I made the decision to "move up" to Prince George. We were drawn to the city by the promise of excellent education and work opportunities and a high quality of life. We are truly grateful for the kindness that folks here have shown us, and would very much like to put down roots and raise our young family.
Now, as we expect the birth of our first child, I can assure you that having a petrochemical plant in our backyard was not on our wish list.
What happens when you begin to locate multiple noxious industries in a single place?
Everyone who can afford to move will move, further spurring disinvestment and compounding existing social issues, leaving the most vulnerable to bear the brunt of the consequences. This is a devastating cultural and psychological loss as much as it is a financial one. It cannot be compensated for by an industry tax, no matter how severe.
No amount of doctored reassurance from a corporate CEO will convince me that living next to a noxious industry is good for my family's health. We are being told that we cannot have both a healthy economy and a healthy environment. Do not accept this. It is not just a privilege, but a fundamental right, to have access to high quality job opportunities and safe, clean spaces to raise our families.
Is it unreasonable to ask our local elected officials to have our best interests in mind? Certainly not. I find it cruel and unconscionable that these officials would capitalize on a starved forestry sector to invite noxious industry to town. Let us be frank - the solution to these economic woes is not another boom and bust industry. The hard-working people of this city deserve better. Do not take advantage of their struggle to sell them jobs at the cost of their health.
So, I would have to agree with the mayor that this proposed development is a "game changer," just not the one he has in mind.