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'Green' group left in the dark over Tsawwassen coal terminal billboard
An environmental group says its efforts to highlight Westshore Terminal's role in exporting coal were hampered when Pattison Outdoor Advertising, a sister company of the terminal, refused to display one of its billboards.
Kevin Washbrook, director of Voters Taking Action on Climate Change (VTACC), said representatives from Pattison Outdoor Advertising approved one of the group's billboards, but not the one pointing to Westshore Terminal.
"They wouldn't tell us why they wouldn't put the other one up," Washbrook said. "We're kind of choked, because the public needs to realize the role that B.C. plays in contributing to or helping to stop climate change."
He said he believes the billboard was rejected because the Jim Pattison Group owns both the Westshore Terminal and Pattison Outdoor Advertising.
The approved billboard went up Nov. 14 and sits along Highway 17 near Westshore Terminal.
It shows piles of coal behind text that says 'Can BC be a climate leader and export 40 million tonnes of coal per year? We don't think so.'
The rejected billboard contained the same picture of coal, only the text said 'Hey, look over there (It's North America's largest exporter of global warming).' The billboard would have featured an arrow pointing in the direction of the terminal.
Washbrook said representatives from Pattison Outdoor Advertising expressed concerns the rejected billboard was not 100 per cent factual.
Washbrook said he told Pattison Outdoor Advertising the text on the rejected billboard was based on information from Westshore's web site.
The Westshore Terminal states on its website it is the 'busiest single export coal terminal in all North America' and 'Canada's No. 1 coal export facility.'
"All we are doing is reframing their exports in terms of their contribution to global warming," Washbrook said.
He said members of VTACC will take the print of the rejected billboard to Downtown Vancouver and unfurl it in front of the Jim Pattison Group's head office Nov. 30.
Dennis Horgan, vice-president and general manager for Westshore Terminals, declined to comment about the billboards.
Calls and emails to Pattison Outdoor Advertising were not returned by press time.