While BC’s NDP government continues to maintain its opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) suggests that a majority of British Columbians have started to take the opposite view.
In February, an ARI poll found that 48% of British Columbians supported the project compared to 40% who opposed.
Now, with the debate heating up between BC and Alberta and politicians on all sides weighing in, a new poll conducted this week found that gap has increased considerably, with 54% of respondents now saying they support the project, compared to just 38% who say they remain opposed.
Broken down by region, support for the project hovers around the 50%-mark in Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, and 60% throughout the rest of the province.
From a BC perspective, the poll found that opposition to the project is less about twinning a pipeline than it is about tanker traffic, as well as a need for a visible and effective emergency response protocol people can see, believe, and have confidence in.
Asked about their level of concern over a variety of potential negative impacts of the pipeline, respondents said their biggest concern had to do with the water around Metro Vancouver.
Oil spills and accidents at sea are top-of-mind concerns for both supporters and opponents of the TransMountain project as more than half of each group choose this as their top concern, the poll found.
Further, respondents from BC are not particularly confident about overall plans and procedures currently in place to both prevent and respond to spills on water.