Say the Names...

Al Purdy wrote a wonderful poem called "Say the names say the names" which celebrates the names of Canadian rivers - Tulameen, Kleena Kleene, Similkameen, Nahanni, Kluane and on and on in a celebratory song.

Enbridge is planning to build a dual pipeline that will carry bitumen and condensate across hundreds of waterways between Edmonton and Kitimat. Some of these waterways are rivers like the Parsnip (or what's left of it), the Nechako, the Morice and others are smaller creeks whose names are often known only to the folks who live along their banks or who fish in their shadows or who bend to wash or drink as they cross paths.

I want to collect the names of these rivers and creeks, to collect your stories, your poems, your songs so we can collectively give voice to the land living under the line Enbridge plans to draw.

People have also sent me copies of their presentations to the community oral presentations. If you'd like to add your voice, email me ( your stories and I'll post them for you. The copyright remains with you.

All the best.
Sheila Peters

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Brief Tour; Coste Rock to Glide Island

When I first learned of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project I thought of the very large crude carriers that would navigate the Douglas Channel out Hecate Strait and on to open water. I looked up the tanker route on a map, saw the dotted red line on the Northern Gateway site and noticed the lack of names. The bays, islands, channels, parks and ecological reserves are not marked.

As someone who grew up in Kitimat and spent time on the ocean I want to tell you the names of some of the places I feel are significant and at risk because of Enbridge`s proposal.

The proposed Northern Gateway terminal would be near Jesse Lake, a provincial protected area featuring the often photographed picturesque Jesse Falls. Near here, rising up in the centre of the salt water are Coste Rocks, a class A provincial park where harbour seals lounge and scuba divers explore the vertical rock gardens.

Super tankers would pass Coste Rocks and go by Foch–Gilttoyees park, a large tidal lagoon with a salt water marsh and another Class A provincial park whose kelp beds are a nursery for a wide variety of sea life.

The proposed route, the dotted line on the map, goes past the protection of the Sue Channel, also a provincial park, between Hawkesbury Island and Loretta Island where humpback whales and orcas are often seen. The route continues along the length of Hawkesbury Island into Hecate Strait. This portion of Hecate Strait is deep but it is straight and narrow and when the wind blows the effects are severe. Hecate was a Greek goddess who was thought capable of drawing down the moon and negatively influencing the seas.

The massive tankers would pass the community of Hartley Bay, continuing south past Gribbell Island with its lesser known resident white bears, past Gil Island where the Queen of the North ferry remains underwater. The tankers would push south between Princess Royal Island, the spirit bear sanctuary and the island of Campania with its rare white sand beaches. Here the line on the map goes straight past the southern tip of the Dewdney Glide Island Ecological Reserve, critical habitat for nesting birds with a rare bog and fen ecosystem. Here the proposed super tanker route goes in one of three directions over the Pacific Ocean; north, south or straight out to Asia.

These are just some of the places tankers would pass. This is saying nothing of the many historic sites, the cultural sites, the wide array of marine life and the people who depend upon that marine life. These are some of the places along Enbridge`s dotted line, some of the names I needed to say.

Jane Stevenson

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