At the same time, only 39 per cent of residents say they are aware that fracking is being done in this province.
“There’s this relationship between fracking and LNG that hasn’t been explained properly to many people,” argues Mario Canseco, Vice President of Public Affairs for Insights West, “and I think this is one of the reasons why the survey seems to show a little bit of confusion in that sense.”
Canseco also says the push to show the LNG industry’s benefits in the recent election may explain some of the misunderstanding of where the natural gas will come from.
The survey was conducted with residents in both B.C. and Alberta to look at their opinions and awareness of fracking, and found that nearly half of Albertans support the practice, compared to the one-in-four in B.C.
About half of those surveyed in B.C. were in the lower mainland below the FraserValley, while the other half live north of that and on Vancouver Island. As expected, those in the rest of the province showed a higher level of knowledge and support for fracking, although the support is still below 40 per cent.
Canseco says this preliminary survey could work as a base for future studies into attitudes towards the growing LNG industry.
“Ideally, I think what we’d like to do down the road is take a look at this in a much closer fashion in the areas that are affected by [fracking], or in the areas that are going to be benefited by it,” he says. “You have a situation where the north’s going to be more interested in getting this done, and the lower mainland and some of the other residents of B.C. saying that they don’t want to see this happen because they’re not aware of all of the intricacies.”
Canseco believes this survey now presents a challenge to the provincial government to better educate its residents.