Unemployed welder Dakota Macdonald is eager to work on the pipeline — and says jobs are just as important as the environment.
"[If the] project was to get the go-ahead, I'd probably be happy, because that would actually give me a chance to get a job in the welding industry,” he said.
"I would love to see Enbridge come in, open up a lot of job and career opportunities. That will also bring in a lot of money into B.C. as well."
The unemployment rate on B.C.’s North Coast is among the highest in the province.
But many residents believe there's the proposed pipeline puts too much at stake.
"I really think if that if that comes in, that will be the death of everything on this coast,” said resident Marty Bowles. He’s not alone — earlier this year, Prince Rupert city council voted unanimously to oppose the project.
"I hate when people say we need jobs in the north because I feel like we need a quality of life in the north, and yes we do need jobs, yes indeed we do — but there's no point in having a great job if you can't recreate and enjoy the money that you're earning."
The pipeline would transport diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands across northern B.C. to a tanker port planned for Kitimat, B.C.
Opponents argue the risk of an oil leak on land or a tanker spill off the coast is too great.
The Prince Rupert hearings will focus on issues like marine safety and spills. The hearings are slated to run until Dec. 17.