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COMMENTARY · 16th January 2013
Walter McFarlane
KITIMAT TALKS ABOUT ESCORT SERVICE. READ THE STORY PROMPTING THE EDITORIAL HERE

Monday night was a discussion in Kitimat Council about changing the Bylaws for the latest business to take interest in Kitimat. An escort service is looking to come to town. This is the price of our fame. Our community has put itself out there to attract business, and this is the business we have attracted.

But this is what we wished for isn’t it? We wanted new businesses to come to Kitimat and open up shop. I mean, when Kitimat is being described as a boom town across the nation. There are those who are, for lack of politer term, pimping out our community to the nation to let them know we’re booming…

That’s what our community spokesperson is telling people. The word is out.

As was reported in early December, unemployed people are being told to come to Kitimat where they can find work right the next day. Those potential workers have learned that this is far from the truth.

This leads to the question. Are we booming? If you keep telling a town it is booming over and over again, then it is obviously booming, right? We have speculators looking at the community and buying up houses and businesses and driving up the assessment rates and the cost of living in Kitimat.

Then there are the people who are coming to Kitimat and who are finding work. How many of these people will be going into the camps? We asked Municipal Manager Ron Poole if the people who are living in the camps count towards the population of Kitimat. They Don’t.

There is a lot proposed for Kitimat. The key word here is proposed. According to the award winning Invest in Northwest British Columbia Website, there are six major projects currently looking at Kitimat. According to the website, only two of those projects have started. One is the Rio Tinto Alcan Modernization project which started in 2011, the other is the Douglas Channel Energy Project which began construction in 2012.

Both Kitimat LNG and Enbridge are scheduled to begin construction this year, 2013. In 2014, Kitimat Clean is scheduled to begin and 2015 is supposed to bring us LNG Canada.

This is in addition to many… many other projects which the District of Kitimat Economic Department has hinted at during the budget process for 2013. However until these projects can be named, they might as well be imaginary. There is nothing to back them up, nothing to say they will be coming to Kitimat for sure.

In this sense, the escort service is just another business looking to start in Kitimat.

Council has also been told the community has little choice but to accept the escort service because it is a legal business. Their hands are tied and thus, our hands are tied. There is little we can do save for not supporting it. Given our town’s track record for supporting businesses, it probably won’t last long. In addition, while it might be controversial to some, to others, it is employment.

However, I think the Escort Service has a lot in common with the Enbridge Pipeline. Each is unwanted by a sector of the community for multiple reasons. Each promises to create jobs in the Kitimat. Each is controversial for the potential harm which could be done to the community. And in both cases, the opponents are told there is nothing they can do to stop the business from coming in provided it obeys the laws.

Perhaps, if our elected officials want to take a position of opposition to this controversial escort business, they should consider taking up a position of opposition to controversial old Enbridge as well. Rejecting one controversial business over the other could make it appear like our City Councillors have selective hearing when it comes to concerns brought to them by the public.

But on the other hand, this business is just a small part of a bigger problem. If the Escort service was promising the community of Kitimat lots of money and 50+ jobs, would they be as controversial and even accepted by Kitimat’s Economic Development Societies.

As was pointed out to me today, there is no such thing as morality anymore, because we are willing to forgo our sense of morality, our definitions of right and wrong, our very souls, to the highest bidder.

So long as this business obeys the laws, they are just another business looking to come to Kitimat. So long as we keep letting people know we are booming and open for business, we can expect further businesses to apply. Put simply: ‘You reap what you sow,’ and ‘be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.’
A question then..
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 17th January 2013
How does anybody other than the 'escorted' and escort control/regulate the services provided by an escort?

It should be interesting.
Economic Development for Kitimat
Comment by David on 17th January 2013
The Escort service would be premature. First, you need a casino.
it's going to come, might as well have it controlled
Comment by tr on 17th January 2013
I've lived in a boom town before, overseas. Whether we like it or not, 'escorts' are going to come to any boom town - if it is not done in a controlled manner, we will see 'escorts' on our streets - what would you prefer? While your kids are walking to school? I've also visited many places around the world where 'escort' services are controlled and managed, not only can it be out of our mainstream life / sight, but it can reduce risks to our population. In the boom town I lived in - it was awful being a single female, constantly being hit on, bad enough with an escort service being in town, how much worse would be without this service? Men can be horndogs!!! (and some women for that matter).