Small towns are winning with a different kind of Enbridge investment
By Sean Corbett
Rural municipalities face a chronic struggle for resources. Budgets are tighter with a smaller tax base.
This is most keenly felt with local emergency responders.
Recognizing this, Enbridge started a program in 2002 for towns along their project corridors.
Called Safe Community, the program awards grants to first-response services in rural areas.
These grants have been available in Canada since 2009.
The money can be used to buy safety gear, get training and certification, or further educate the community at large.
This is a great example of a corporate public relations move having immediate wide-reaching value. On its face, emergency response would minimize the fallout in case of a pipeline emergency. But this funding is used by small towns for a wide array of issues that have nothing to do with oil and gas.
In Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, Quebec, a recent donation was made to the local fire brigade, which received $12,800 for the delivery of this summer’s pumping apparatus certification course. Previous grants helped pay for courses in vehicle operator standards and hazardous material awareness.
As a volunteer force, the Kahnawake Fire Brigade needs all the help it can get. It handles vehicle rescue, brush fires, structural fires and more. With two major highways and CP rail tracks in its territory, anything can happen.
Safe Community funding helps areas like theirs to be properly prepared for any emergency.
Enbridge provides this funding to areas within a 20-kilometre radius of its pipeline right-of-way, or near its operations.
Organizations qualified for funding include:
- medical research and infrastructure
- emergency services
- health organizations
- education providers
- social services agencies
- environmental and safety initiatives
- cultural organizations
Sean Corbett is a Calgary-based writer and filmmaker. He runs the marketing agency Repria Multimedia Corp.
Published in PIPELINE OBSERVER FALL 2017
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