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Delta wants pipeline office

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Nov 22/04) - Forget putting the Mackenzie Valley pipeline office in Hay River, it belongs in Inuvik, says the chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

The Hay River location is the one currently favoured by the territorial government.

But Nellie Cournoyea said Hay River is "off the beaten track" in terms of dealing with the pipeline corridor people who would be closest to the impact.

"It doesn't make sense to us. They should put it where people are most active," Cournoyea said at last week's Beaufort-Delta Regional Council meeting.

"Everyone up the Mackenzie corridor made comment that it was a strange decision to be made in regards to that particular office and that particular function," Cournoyea said.

The office should go where the action is.

"We're in the major area of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline. We're the most impacted area because of the source of oil and gas this year to go into the pipeline," the straight-shooting Cournoyea said.

The Beaufort-Delta region is also active in getting the joint panel review set up, she said. The Dehcho First Nations -- in the southern region for the eventual pipeline -- has been stonewalling progress with litigation to get to appoint at least one, and perhaps two, representatives to the Mackenzie Valley review panel.

This has made for some impatience in the Delta.

"We, as an aboriginal group -- the Inuvialuit and the Gwich'in -- have been the major workers in getting issues resolved to try to get towards a proper assessment and evaluation of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline," Cournoyea said.

"That's where you will get the kind of energy you require to make it work.

"Being in Hay River, it's a business centre. They will be dictated by how well we pull the process forward. They get the benefit of our work and the business that comes through Hay River," Cournoyea said.