In the summer of 2009, Dave Shannon found himself sitting in Dieter Wagner's backyard.
Wagner, a former colleague at Kitimat's aluminum smelter, had convened a meeting of locals concerned about Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposal, which would see oil piped across British Columbia and loaded onto tankers in Kitimat.
“I’m an engineer, so industry is necessary, but some industries aren’t a good idea. This is one of them,” 67-year-old Shannon says. “I never was an activist throughout my whole life. This one just caught my attention.”
As the small group enjoyed tea and biscuits in the sunshine, they plotted how to fight back against Enbridge.
“We were spinning our wheels, wondering what to do to get going,” Shannon recalls. “We had no idea what was about to happen, but we thought it might be something we should worry about.”
The group dubbed themselves “Douglas Channel Watch” and registered as an intervenor in the National Energy Board hearings, meaning they could present evidence and cross-examine Enbridge’s witnesses.