The Vancouver Sun reports in its Thursday edition that the National Energy Board is holding hearings on Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline on the fourth floor of the south tower at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver. The Sun's Pete McMartin calls the hearings a disgrace. He says if ever a hearing was designed to be as un-public as possible, this is it.
The hearing room is about the size of your average den. Besides a table for the three NEB panel members and a table for three speakers, there are a total of eight chairs for media and guests of the speakers. Interested, or for that matter, even disinterested members of the public, are not encouraged to attend, even if they could find a spot. Public attendees are asked to view the proceedings via video feed in a room at the Westin Bayshore, 14 blocks away. The fact that these are hearings on an issue that may forever change the nature of the B.C. coastline, a change that could pose an environmental threat beyond measure, suggests that either this is an egregious case of amateur hour or a calculated design at damage control. It is likely both. Mr. McMartin calls the NEB's public hearings a public insult.