Strait of Georgia will be a newsmaker in 2014

The waters off our coast will get a lot of attention this year, and rightly so.

We expect the Strait of Georgia will be the top newsmaker of 2014, both locally and throughout the province.

One could argue the health and welfare of our ocean should be the top news item every year, but there are actions and discussion expected this year that will bring particular attention to the waters off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island.

The big picture is highlighted by Kinder Morgan’s application filed only a few weeks ago to triple the flow of oil through its Trans Mountain Pipeline from Edmonton to the B.C. coast. Estimates suggest this could mean a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic around our Island. The separate Enbridge Northern Gateway Project was given the thumbs up (albeit with 209 required conditions) by the federal joint review panel, also last month, for major expansion of Kitimat’s terminal to handle more oil.

We find it difficult to believe we, as a human race, have not better developed energy alternatives to oil. However, we remain dependent on it, both for products in our everyday life and for many thousands of high-paying jobs. That is to say the notion of stopping oilsands production, pipelines and tanker traffic is not realistic until reliable, safer, affordable alternatives are widely available.

Closer to home, development along the coast of Vancouver Island will surely have an impact on our waters.

Yes, the waters off our coast will get a lot of attention this year, and rightly so.

—Parksville Qualicum Beach News