Wolf and McGowan put it all On The Line

By Dan Mesec- Smithers Interior News

Wednesday 25th August 2010

Adventurers Frank Wolf and Todd McGowan passed through Smithers last week as they continued their journey across the wilderness of Alberta and B.C. to bring awareness to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

Wolf, an award winning documentary film maker is at it again with On The Line, a story that is rooted not only in the land but in the people that have lived and worked here for generations and are now concerned about the future with an oil pipeline.

“What we’ve heard so far is that people definitely don’t want this and the ramification of this pipeline is that the risk is to high, particularly when you get into British Columbia,” said Wolf.

Along the 1,600 kilometres or so that they have already traveled, they have met an extraordinary number of people who definitely see both sides of the situation, but still see many with a narrow vision of things and believe anything that moves the tar sands is good for business.

However, as they get deeper into B.C. more and more residents fear the implications of Enbridge’s pipeline.

“In Grand Prairie, we were talking to a cab driver there, he’s been there for twenty years and seen all walks of life, he’s seen what happens when oil and gas comes, he’s seen the boom and bust and I just asked him ‘with pipelines what does Grand Prairie get out of it?’ He said ‘a pipeline’s just a pipeline and it makes no money for the people of Grand Prairie’.”

According to Wolf what happens is specialized welders are flown in from Fort McMurray, and work on the pipeline for a few months then leave without ever bringing any jobs into the economy of those local communities. A result that will surely be the case in Smithers.

“That’s been one of the interesting parts of this whole trip is that we’re not interviewing Enbridge, we’re not interviewing environmental groups it’s more regular people that live in the area and they actually know what happens here,” said McGowan.

The duo started their trip with a lap of the Syncrude Upgrading Plant in Fort McMurray and then traveled down to Fort Saskatchewan, the industrial heartland of Alberta. From there they followed a GPS tracking devise that had the approximate line of where the Northern Gateway Pipeline would be laid. Moving by their own two feet and bicycles they traveled through the western plains of Alberta, crossing the Rockies into B.C. From Smithers they will continue on bike west and then white water raft into Kitimat and then kayak to finish the trip in Hearty Bay.

“This area is all about the fish drive, so the rivers drive the economy here. If there was an oil spill here it would destroy the economy of the area. And so Enbridge isn’t helping the economy of this area, the potential is only for them to hurt it,” said Wolf. “As far as the film goes we want people to get a real picture of the whole Enbridge pipeline issue from the mouths of people who know it the best. When you talk to people who are just living their lives along this route then you really get the real story.

All Photography © Ian McAllister unless otherwise noted.
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