Vernon joined a province wide Defend Our Coast day of action Wednesday. Protesters gathered outside of MLA Eric Foster's downtown office at noon.
More than 100 local residents braved the chilly weather and linked arms to symbolize BC's unbroken wall of opposition to the tar sands, pipeline expansion, and tankers. The crowd was speaking out about the potential environmental risks to the coast, rivers and to the livelihoods of the people of British Columbia.
The aim of the protest is to have provincial politicians committing to a plan that would ban tanker expansion, which would mean halting Enbridge and Kinder Morgan's pipeline plans to BC's coast.
Young families stood along side the elderly to show their concern over the environmental and social impact of the proposed pipeline, vocalizing their concerns and citing previous disasters such as Valdez and Kalamazoo.
"I'm against the pipeline being put in. I think it's far too dangerous. It's too high of a risk for spills, the water contamination happening to the environment up there. It's a very very important and beautiful part of our country," said local resident Glennis O'Neill.
"I also work up there in those areas. I work with the native people and think it's going to have a huge impact on them."
Passing motorists also lent their support, honking as they drove down 31st Ave.
Vernon is one of 63 BC communities that protested today after Monday's demonstration in Victoria, where thousands of people called on provincial leaders to defend BC's coast. According to a recent poll by Stratcom, the majority of British Columbians oppose Enbridge and Kinder Morgan's proposed pipelines.
"Do they really think they can clean up oil from in the wilderness and the valleys and mountains and hundreds of inlets on the coast? Do they ever think that can be cleaned up?" says Joan Slavik.
Other people referred to the danger of tankers, and the casualties that have occurred in that stretch of water, questioning the devastating effects of losing a tanker, oil leaks and the potential for loss of human life.
"For it to be happening in that area is a slap in the face. It is the most dangerous place to put tankers," said Candace Wilson.
"My son works up in the north. He's a pipe fitter and he says 'I have to feed my children' and I say 'yeah. yeah you're my son and you have to feed my grandchildren but what are my grandchildren going to feed their sons and daughters and their grandchildren," says protest organizer Dianne Perrier.
A petition is currently circulating. For more information about Defend Our Coast visit the website.
Click the following links to see other reports about protests in the Okanagan: