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Cyclists pedal anti-pipeline message

Roy Kregosky collects names on a tanker ban petition at Robert Ostler Park Friday morning. Kregosky was one of 11 cyclists from Parksville who were cycling from Campbell River to Victoria to raise awareness to the potential dangers of the Northern Gateway pipeline. - Kristen Douglas/The Mirror
Roy Kregosky collects names on a tanker ban petition at Robert Ostler Park Friday morning. Kregosky was one of 11 cyclists from Parksville who were cycling from Campbell River to Victoria to raise awareness to the potential dangers of the Northern Gateway pipeline.
— image credit: Kristen Douglas/The Mirror

A group of cyclists protesting the Northern Gateway Pipeline which they say could wipe out B.C.’s fisheries pedalled into Campbell River Friday.

Eleven activists from Parksville, who cycled from Campbell River to Victoria over a span of four days, set up shop at Robert Ostler Park to spread their message.

“We want to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal because there’s so many flaws in their proposal,” said Sharon Farinha, one of the organizers of Cycle to Protect Our Coast which wound up yesterday at the legislature in Victoria.

The cyclists, all from Parksville, are concerned about the federal government’s proposal to build a pipeline under mountains and across rivers that could carry more than half a million barrels of raw tar sands crude oil, or bitumen, across salmon rivers, coastal rain forests and sensitive marine waters.

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline would stretch over 1,000 kilometres to connect tar sands in Alberta with B.C.’s Pacific waters. The proposal would see the bitumen transported by pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. and then by tankers along the northern coast to foreign refineries in Asia.

“It’s just not feasible,” Farinha said. “It’s not if there’s going to be an oil spill, it’s when. There’s no protocol for ships passing each other and there’s lots of ships in that channel. The opportunities for disaster are enormous, our coast is in peril.”

Farinha said an oil spill, similar to what happened in the Gulf of Alaska in 1989 and the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, could destroy our fisheries and the environment as a whole.

“What we stand to lose is far greater than what we stand to gain, which is a few jobs,” she said.

Myst de Vance, a cyclist on the Cycle to Protect Our Coast tour, said the initiative was not only to raise awareness but to encourage people to take part in the fight to protect B.C.’s coast.

The group also collected signatures on two different petitions that it presented to the legislature after wrapping up its tour on Tuesday afternoon.

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