Winnipeggers hand out postcards against the pipeline

Postcards usually tell stories or show a vacation spot, but at a farmers market on Saturday they warned against a pipeline planned near Winnipeg’s water supply.

Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition urging people to protect Winnipeg’s water supply

About eight volunteers with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition handed out postcards against pipelines at the St. Norbert Farmer’s Market. (CBC)

Postcards usually tell stories or show a vacation spot, but at a farmers market on Saturday they warned against a pipeline planned near Winnipeg's water supply.

About eight volunteers with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition handed out postcards against pipelines at the St. Norbert Farmer's Market with a message to the mayor.

"I urge you to protect Winnipeg's drinking water and the Shoal Lake Watershed by rejecting TransCanada's Energy East pipeline," the postcard read.

“I urge you to protect Winnipeg’s drinking water and the Shoal Lake Watershed by rejecting TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline,” the postcard reads. (CBC)
Coalition campaigner Alex Paterson said the recent pipeline oil spill in Saskatchewan should give Manitobans cause for concern.

"We thought it was really important to … have this conversation with people after the Husky Energy oil spill that happened out in Saskatchewan because we think it's a really good test case for some of the risks to the Winnipeg water supply that we've been bringing up," he said.

"The Husky spill … shows that municipal water supplies can be shut off by pipeline spills."

Last week 200,000 litres of heavy oil mixed with a thinning chemical leaked into the North Saskatchewan River near Lloydminster, Sask. Prince Albert, Sask., has been relying on stored storm water after it closed its intake valve and the community has been under a local state of emergency since Monday.

The Energy East proposal would repurpose a 40-year-old natural gas pipeline that runs past Shoal Lake at the Manitoba-Ontario border. Shoal Lake is the source of Winnipeg's drinking water.

"We think it's really important to demonstrate to public officials that there is support to oppose these projects," Paterson said.

He said they've been collecting signatures for the last few months and will deliver the ones people have not mailed themselves to the mayor soon.

Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition campaigner Alex Paterson said the recent pipeline oil spill in Saskatchewan should give Manitobans cause for concern. (CBC)
On July 27, Mayor Brian Bowman told CBC the city had received intervenor status to discuss the controversial pipeline project with the National Energy Board. Intervenors in the hearing can present evidence, ask questions or request additional information from the company.

Paterson said intevenor status can be good if officials actually do something with it.

"If you are going to file information requests that really put the company on its toes, if you going to ask them to propose a different route … I haven't heard from the mayor that he is willing to do what it takes to really protect the water through intervenor status," he said.