Letter to Mayor and Council Feb. 15, 2016

Re: Kinder Morgan offer of $1.3 million for upgrade of Ledgeview clubhouse

I am not opposed to working together with Kinder Morgan to ensure environmental and economic values are protected and to achieve mutual efficiency in process. However I believe the Council is treading on dangerous ground, fraught with quicksand. Here are my thoughts:

• Before deciding anything look up “bribe” in your personal dictionary. Merriam-Webster says “to corrupt or influence one in a position of trust by favours or gifts”. This definition focusses mainly on the receiver. K-M’s goal may not be to corrupt Council, but it is hard to deny their desire to influence. Decisions on this issue must ensure there is no REAL or PERCEIVED benefit to either Council or Kinder Morgan – or it’s a bribe. Collins takes a slightly different focus concentrating on the giver: “anything offered or given to someone to gain favour, or to influence”. Benefits the giver may receive include expedited decisions, favourable treatment, or advertising of “good citizenship”.

• If some agreement with K-M is undertaken, it should NOT be K-M that is dictating how their donation should be spent. A wall, such as an independent third party, should be established between Abbotsford Council and K-M.

• If some agreement with K-M is undertaken, it should NOT be spent to benefit any single citizen group, such as wealthy golf enthusiasts. Landowners must first be compensated for the ongoing impacts they suffer. Then Council, with the input of taxpayers, should decide on a use which benefits the widest possible portion of taxpayers. A solution involving gain by all taxpayers would be wisest.

• Any financial transaction should be structured as a form of rental, not a purchase or a one-time gratuity. The pipeline will have an impact forever, not just during construction – so benefits should cover a similar time span.

Thanks for considering these factors in your deliberations.

Bob Bradley, PhD, retired RPBIO