The fine line - progress versus preservation

One Man's Opinion
By Doug Collins
November 20, 2016 - 6:00am

I have always considered myself to be an environmentalist.

I know that some who have followed me for 40 years of One Man’s Opinion might not get that, but I am.

Although I was born in Vancouver, I grew up in small towns. Terrace, Prince Rupert. Penticton when it was a pretty small place, and then here, and although Kamloops was not a small town when I came here, it has always been so close to so much of the great outdoors.

I travelled the coastal waters of Haida Gwaii, the forests of the Skeena watershed, and the beauty of places like Babine Lake.

I have always felt protective of these areas. And yet there has always been a part of me that says at least some of those areas will eventually have to be developed.

Maybe not in my lifetime, but at some point. And that’s always been the knot in the wood that is so tough to get through.

How much development is acceptable, and where is the line to be drawn?

A tug boat sinks in the wild waters of Seaforth Channel.

Fuel leaks into the waterway.

Is this some huge disaster that prevents any boat from sailing those waters again? Or is it something that can be mitigated over time?

If we allow Kinder Morgan to triple its pipeline capacity, there is no question that the danger of a spill becomes greater.

Do we prevent the pipeline expansion because the danger is so great we cannot condone any spill? Or can we take measures to respond quickly in case something does happen?

These are not easy questions to answer.

There are those who would ban progress at all costs.

There are those who would ignore all consequences for the sake of business and progress.

Surely the answer must lie somewhere in between.

The challenge for all of those who seek a reasonable compromise is; how do we get there?

There is no one who can actually believe that we can make any forward progress without industry.

Well, I guess there are those people, just as there are those who believe the world will survive if we continue to destroy the environment.

The line continually fluctuates, depending on who you talk to. But somehow we have to find a common ground.

Without some common ground, both sides will continue their hard and fast rhetoric, and nothing will be accomplished.

The question is, who is strong enough to lead the fight for the compromised response? That is the $64,000 question. And right now, I don’t see anyone who can answer it.