C-NLOPB responds to complaints over oil consultations

The head of the province's offshore regulator is responding to complaints about public consultation sessions happening on the west coast of Newfoundland.

Offshore regulator holding sessions about potential development in Gulf of St. Lawrence

An offshore regulator is responding to complaints about public consultations happening on the west coast of Newfoundland.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board's first session about oil development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence was held Sunday in Port aux Basques. 

C-NLOPB CEO Max Ruelokke. ((CBC))

One participant told CBC News it was more like an information display, with no opportunity to voice concerns.

Marilyn Clark, who is with the Save Our Seas and Shores Action Committee, says the session wasn't what she was expecting.

"I wouldn't even call it a consulation. It was about six posters with writing on it and three maps. It was like walking through a museum or an interpretation centre," Clark said.

"There was no opportunity for stakeholder debate or discussion."

But Max Ruelokke, the CEO of the C-NLOPB, says the sessions aren't a forum for public debate, although people can speak with the consultant on hand.

"I'm sure there are probably a variety of things that could have been done, but the assessment process is structured around the opportunity for the public to state their views, so that the consultant and representatives of the working group can hear them," Ruelokke said.

The C-NLOPB is also holding sessions in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.