We are modelled on the global Transition Network with a few twists that reflect our regional culture and interests. The philosophy behind this movement is that if we wait for our governments to act, it will be too late. If we act as individuals, it will be too little. But if we act as a community, it might just be enough, just in time.
Alternatives to Energy East
TransCanada Corp. proposed the Energy East project in 2013. The scheme proposes to move diluted tarsands bitumen and other crude oil products 4,600 km across six provinces from Hardisty, AB to a coastal seaport at Saint John, NB. For much of the route, including here in Northwestern Ontario, the project would involve converting existing, decades-old natural gas pipeline to crude oil service.
TIK was granted intervenor status for the Energy East regulatory review by the National Energy Board in 2015. We have retained legal counsel through Ecojustice, a Canadian environmental law charity. Together, TIK and Ecojustice have been vigilant about pressing for transparency, accountability and integrity of the regulatory review process. In recent months, we have filed successful motions with the NEB to demand the recusal of review panel members due to the reasonable apprehension of bias that arose out of a private meeting they had with a paid lobbyist for the project proponent, and to ensure that the proceedings that were tainted by that potential bias were declared void. The NEB's decisions in favour of our motions mean that the Energy East review will start anew, under a new panel, in 2017.
TIK views Energy East as an enormous risk to our regional environment and land- (and water) based economy. We also question the economic need for the project given the global transition to clean energy that is happening in response to climate change threats. Currently, there is enough pipeline capacity to meet today's oil production needs, and new pipeline capacity like Energy East is only necessary if Canada intends to continue to expand tarsands extraction, a move that would increase Canada's economic dependence on an increasingly marginal revenue source while exacerbating global climate change.
Instead of endorsing ongoing investment in the waning oil and gas industry, TIK supports community-led investment, innovation, research and adoption of clean energy solutions as the path forward to strengthen Canada's economy.
Kenora is a city whose image, culture & lifestyle, economy, and citizens' well-being is inextricably tied to clean, fresh water. Kenora lies at the headwaters of the Winnipeg River, where the vast Lake of the Woods watershed discharges. Bordering Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota, Lake of the Woods is a vibrant cottaging and tourism destination, and it is beloved by the nearly 35,000 people who live around its shores all year long. The Lake is famous for its more than 14,500 islands and 105,000 km of shoreline made of innumerable sandy beaches and rocky shoals, set against the backdrop of a mixed Prairie parkland - Laurentian - boreal forest Canadian Shield landscape.
Lake of the Woods itself covers an area of 4,349 km², but it also drains an enormous 69,750 km² watershed. The region is all about water, from beaver ponds and creeks to small, interconnected remote Shield lakes, to the massive Lake of the Woods and Winnipeg River. Water is our life.
TIK works on watershed protection through a variety of projects and campaigns. Our executive director serves as a community advisor to the International Joint Commission's International Rainy - Lake of the Woods Watershed Board and is also involved in the IJC's Climate Adaptation Working Group that is developing a framework for all IJC Boards to address climate change impacts within their mandates.
TIK also partners with other allied groups to undertake research on risks to our waterways, including a 2016 report on Energy East's risks to drinking water.
Climate Change & Clean Energy
TIK has been working to advance the clean energy revolution in the Kenora area. Through our TIK Talks we have introduced our members to climate change stories from across Canada. Our TIK Tech series has enabled us to partnered with local clean tech businesses like RaySolar to offer information seminars to our members on clean energy solutions, like solar PV systems for home or cottage, off-grid or grid-intertied applications.
We are collaborating with the City of Kenora through the coming year to initiate a community climate and energy planning project aimed at developing an ambitious yet achievable decarbonization framework for our community.
TIK also advocates on climate policy issues at the provincial and federal levels. Provincially, we participate in things like reviewing and commenting on Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan, and regional electricity planning through Ontario's Independent Electricity Systems Operator. Federally, we've been involved in processes to modernize environmental legislation, including the National Energy Board Act and the Canadian environmental assessment regime. We have also participated a number of public consultations around pipeline projects' environmental and climate impacts.
TIK is a member of the Canadian Climate Action Network - Réseau d'action climat and the Clean Economy Alliance.