Middle ground unlikely in Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain debate

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Risk is part of the equation for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project, but it can be managed.

That was the message from SMIT Marine Canada president Frans Tjallingii.

He argued in favour of the project at a debate Tuesday evening at UBC Robson Square.

“I think there’s always going to be a certain level of risk, but it’s about evaluating what that risk is and taking mitigating measures and then improving on those measures as we go along. Not waiting for accidents to happen, but also learning from things that are not yet an incident and improving on that basis.”

Those arguing against the pipeline said they didn’t doubt those in favour of the project would try to make it as safe as possible.

They just said they doubted protective measures would ultimately prevent an environmental catastrophe.

Documentary filmmaker Damien Gillis was on the panel opposing the pipeline expansion.

He says even from a financial perspective, the plan doesn’t make sense.

“I look at the risk versus reward. Still, I’m unpersuaded and I don’t think I will be at this point.”

Gillis says if there was an oil spill as a result of increased tanker traffic the cost could be up to $40-billion.

And as for the “Greenest City in the World” ambitions?

He says the project could lead to the city kissing that dream goodbye.