There's one question about the Enbridge Northern Gateway project that many people ask and few can answer: Who is responsible for the port of Kitimat? Who would be liable should there be a disaster in the port? Nobody really knows. Most of the other harbours in Canada are the responsibility of Ports Canada, a branch of Transport Canada or run by (usually not-for-profit) semi-public port corporations or local harbour commissions. Yet Kitimat has one of the few private ports in Canada. To find out why, watch the multiple Oscar-winning movie On the Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando, about how the mob ran the New York docks.
Even with David Black's proposal for an oil refinery on a hill 25 kilometres north of Kitimat, residents here know that the Enbridge Northern Gateway debate has gone on for years and will go on for many years to come. The hottest issue in Kitimat this summer is water, not oil. For us, this summer can be summed up by saying: "Water, water everywhere, but you can't get there from here." As environmentalists worldwide celebrate the beauty of Douglas Channel, and decry the dangers that tanker traffic could pose to the channel, many people in Kitimat are cut off from the waterfront.