The online game “Pipe Trouble” sparked controversy last week when a link was posted on the website of Ontario’s public broadcaster. In the game, players build gas pipelines while balancing costs and environmental concerns, sometimes resulting in pipelines being bombed.
The topic hits close to home in northeastern B.C., where six bombings targeting a natural gas pipeline and gas wells operated by the Encana Corporation rocked the area in 2008 and 2009. No arrests have been made.
Dawson Creek Mayor Mike Bernier says memories of the bombings are still fresh.
"Anyone who wants to capitalize or sensationalize on something that was such a terrible time for us is obviously something we can't support at all."
Bernier doesn’t buy claims from the game’s developer that it was meant to be educational.
"It looks to me like trying to profit from something else that's been negative,” he said.
Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman also condemns the game, saying it misrepresents her region.
"Our residents don't need to be portrayed in the way that they are portraying us, and we certainly don't need any kind of insinuation at all that the way to achieve some kind of resolution is by bombing a pipeline,” she said.
Ackerman wants the broadcaster and the game developer to apologize to people living in northeastern B.C., and has invited both to visit the region to better understand what goes on in the natural gas industry.
TVO describes the game, which is similar in style to the highly-popular online game FarmVille, as a companion to a documentary called Trouble in the Peace about local opposition to pipelines and the bombing of pipelines in northeastern British Columbia.
The game has been pulled from TVO’s website.
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