British Columbia

400 B.C. businesses sign letter opposing Trans Mountain expansion

Previously, 70 Canadian business groups, including the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and the Business Council of B.C., signed an open letter to the federal government, backing the pipeline expansion.

Signees warn of potential disaster for tech and tourism sectors from spill

A group of business leaders in B.C. are calling on Premier John Horgan to continue opposing the Trans Mountain expansion. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

While many in the B.C. business community have thrown their support behind Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, others in the technology, green tech and tourism industries are less enthusiastic.

Representatives from 400 businesses signed an open letter to Premier John Horgan this week asking him to continue his opposition to the project.

Signees say the pipeline, if built, will prove disastrous for businesses in B.C. that rely on a clean, protected environment.

"We recognize the energy sector has made a major contribution to our quality of life and to the Canadian economy," the letter read. "But now it is time to recognize that our choices around projects like this pipeline will have a resounding impact on our future.

"If this pipeline were to be built, it would lock in our dependence on fossil fuels for decades to come and remove any incentive to convert to renewable alternatives."

Previously, another group of business leaders announced plans for a campaign supporting the completion of the project.

Environment a selling feature

Among the signees of the letter to Horgan was Michael Tippett, CEO of tech company Wantoo.

He told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko that he signed to show the diversity of voices in the business community.

"Many of my peers who signed that letter are operating globally. We compete internationally for talent and capital and one of the great selling features of this region is that we have this beautiful environment," he said.

"We believe that anything that threatens that and risks that is a risk to our competitive standing in the world."

Tippett says projects like the pipeline may have been historically beneficial, but he argued the future for B.C.'s economy lies in technology and tourism.

Listen to the full interview with Michael Tippett:

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast