CPOC (Cycle to Protect Our Coast) will turn heads and bike pedals in communities from Campbell River to Victoria May 18th to 22nd. The group of cyclists will be chatting with Islanders about the economic and ecological dangers of the oil tankers associated with both the Northern Gateway pipeline and Kinder Morgan expansion proposals. "When you love something you stand up for it," says Sharon Farinha, one of CPOC's organizers. "We care about our area and are doing what we can to prevent super-sized tanker spills of bitumen and condensate (far larger spills than the Exxon Valdez of material more toxic than crude oil) from ruining Canada's most productive coastlines."
The West Coast fishery is an important and sustainable driver of Canada's economy, netting 1.06 billion dollars in 2011. It could be wiped out by a single supertanker's very bad day. Coastal tourism and forestry industries will also have short and long-term damage from the spills that are common to oil tanker traffic areas. Enbridge and Kinder Morgan have no liability for the costs of a coastal oil spill once a tanker has been loaded. Each oil tanker is set up as a floating corporation, specifically to reduce the amount a company could be considered liable for if the tanker's actions create massive damage. Immediate economic losses and the costs of gradual industry restoration will fall upon the shoulders of British Columbians, not those of the oil or transport companies. Other unfair costs arise even before the spills start. BC taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize the profits of foreign-owned corporations by paying for deep dredging under Vancouver's bridges to accommodate Suezmax tankers, for example.
CPOC members would love to discuss the future of the coast with you on May 18th at 11am in Campbell River's Robert V. Ostler Park, just south of the Quadra Island Ferry dock. You are welcome to join us for a 10km cycle to the Jubilee Parkway after the discussion. We will also be gathering at the Comox Community Centre at 1855 Noel Ave. at 2:30pm for a 10km ride to Simms Millenium Park in Courtenay at Comox Road and 5th St., just east of the downtown 5th St. Bridge, where we will have another community discussion about protecting our coasts.
More information on route maps and scheduling can be found at: www.facebook.com/CycleToProtectOurCoast
Contact Sharon at cpocvancouverislandgmail.com for more information about the tour.