My name is Kim Wright. I was born in Prince Rupert and I live and work in Vancouver. I have spent my whole life on the coast. I am an environmental and social scientists, educated and employed in the field of environmental conflict analysis and management.
Tonight I wish to speak to you about what is in the public interest and how one might approach making that determination
My personal perspective is informed by many years of working with Canadians who come together to make decisions about the natural resources they share. I have witnessed the positive benefits of collaboration and stakeholder engagement in marine and land use planning. There are many examples from across Canada where sustainable resource use that is compatible with the needs and values of local communities and the environment has resulted from such processes. They are critical for establishing the public interest for current and future generations of Canadians.
I have also been witness to changes in British Columbia's coastal communities over the last forty years; the industrialization of the fishing fleet, boom and bust local economies, declining opportunities for employment and the movement of youth away from their families and home towns into the cities for education and work. I am sympathetic to the need for economic opportunities for all Canadians including those in smaller coastal communities. My friends and colleagues in these communities will all agree that stronger more diverse economic opportunities that are embedded in healthy ecosystems are the long term solution. They believe and I agree that these are their interests.
The National Energy Board defines the public interest as:
inclusive of all Canadians and refers to a balance of economic, environmental and social considerations that changes as society's values and preferences evolve over time.