About Place and Pipelines

The material on this website is the result of asking the question "what do people in the region think." When the environmental assessment hearings for the proposed Northern Gateway project began early in 2012, this was the question I asked myself. Rather than listening to the rhetoric from politicians and special interest groups, I wanted to know what the real story was and how this proposed project would impact the local residents. To discover that story, I read hundreds of pages of testimony from the Joint Review Panel (JRP) hearings and drove the route of the proposed pipeline to see the area for myself. What I discovered was a complex and fascinating story of people who spoke passionately about why they love there homes, of First Nations treaty history and colonization, and of people who value the natural landscape and ecological systems above economic development by resource extraction. All set against the stunning landscape of Western Canada.

My hope is that by using the resources on this site, you can also visit the places the pipeline and tankers are expected to pass though. And, you may also gain some insight about the people who live in this area and the issues they are faced with. With other pipeline proposals on the table, this is an issue that we as a society need to deal with and come up with some constructive solutions. Please add your voice.

About the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project

The Northern Gateway Pipeline project proposes a dual pipeline from Bruderheim, in Alberta's Industrial Heartland, to a marine port in Kitimat on the Coast of British Columbia. Tankers would bring petroleum condensate to be pumped to refineries in the heartland, where it would be used to dilute oil sands bitumen creating 'dilbit.' The dilbit product is then pumped out to Kitimat, where tankers will ship it to Asian markets. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act requires an Environmental Assessment before a project like this can go ahead. Public hearings for this assessment began in January of 2012. In December of 2013, the National Energy Board (NEB) recommended approval of the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. The last step in the approval process now lies with the federal government of Canada. This decision is still controversial, as the large majority of people who presented to the Joint Review Panel opposed the project.

The resources on this website are the result of a research project which looked at how local residents expressed value in the places they call home. The map contains selected quotes from the public hearings and photographs from a journey along the proposed pipeline route.

About Andrew Barton

All content on this site has been created by Andrew Barton. Andrew is a photographer, storyteller, web developer, and geographer who is fascinated by our relationship with the natural world. He recently completed an undergraduate degree in Geography at the University of British Columbia, after a long career as an Information Technology and Communications professional. Andrew believes we can change the world through the stories we tell.

You can view more of Andrew's photographic work at Life and Landscape Visual Imagery

Andrew Barton


The initial research for Place and Pipelines was carried out as part of a UBC Undergraduate Research Award, made possible by the Irving K. Barber endowment fund. Additional funding came from the EIA Effectiveness Research project. My gratitude and thanks to Donna Senese, Mary Stockdale, and Kevin Hanna. The participatory mapping site is based on the Geolive platform, developed by Nick Blackwell and John Corbett from the Centre for Social, Spatial & Economic Justice (CSSEJ) at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus. I would also like to thank my friends and family for your support and encouragement. Most of all, I wish to thank my partner Shaunet. Thanks for being there through all this!