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Kinder Morgan updates Hope on TMX progress

Mayor Wilfried Vicktor, Coun. Heather Stewin asked about safety, jobs.
Coun. Heather Stewin and Mayor Wilfried Vicktor speak to a representative from Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project on March 7 at the Hope and District Recreation Centre’s conference room.

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX) staff visited Hope to host another community outreach to share information, updates, routing and get feedback from residents March 7 evening.

Trans Mountain will start construction this September which will bring jobs for local contractors here as a pipeline goes through residential, commercial and agricultural areas.

TMX external relations manager Lexa Hobenshield said they will try to minimize impacts to affected parties such as using trenchless construction over roadways.

“Where we do what we call trenched construction ... there will be temporary disruption while we bring equipment in, dig the trench, lay the pipe in, we’ll backfill it, we will restore the area to original or better condition,” said Hobenshield.

Hobenshield said that they will come to an agreement with residents and businesses who are directly impacted.

For residents, Hobenshield said this might range from moving the pipeline a bit farther away from someone’s house to financial compensation or alternative accommodations in a local hotel.

“If a business feels that they have been impacted negatively as a result of our project, we would be happy to have a conversation with them and come to an agreement,” said Hobenshield.

Hope residents who are indirectly impacted by the construction activities will receive compensation in the form of the Community Benefits Agreement — a $500,000 grant which the District of Hope’s council has discussed using to fund Station House renovations.

Kinder Morgan has procurement guidelines and requirements that they will use when working with contractors. Hobenshield said contractors will likely do the hiring directly and put together a procurement strategy that TMX will review.

Construction will be done by the end of 2019 and the pipeline will go in service “shortly after that.” The whole pipeline will take two years and will be done in segments. Hobenshield does not know when Hope’s segment will start.

This fall they will do tree removal and site preparation, before starting pipeline construction in January next year.

“It won’t be continuous construction from January 2018 through the end of 2019,” said Hobenshield. “We might do some work here and go do somewhere else, come back, restore this area.”

Hobenshield said TMX has an emergency management plan for the current pipeline and will enhance their plan with the expansion, adding that their plan will be submitted to the federal National Energy Board (NEB) before construction starts. They will also need to submit a parcel-by-parcel plan of the pipeline to the NEB by mid-March as they currently only have approval for a corridor. Then, landowners who object to that plan can submit their concerns to the NEB.

Asked whether pipelines are safer than rail shipment of crude oil, Hobenshield said both have their place in the market.

“There are different risks and different mitigating factor for each type of transportation,” said Hobenshield. “What we know is that we have more than a 60 year history of safe and efficient operations.”

Hobenshield said they have had less than 85 spills through 60 years and the number of spills over time have decreased.

Both Mayor Wilfried Vicktor and Coun. Heather Stewin attended the event and said they had their questions answered.

“I guess the two most important points for me at this point is safe operations of the pipeline when it’s built and there are some folks here who had some pretty good answers and of course, a procurement process that allows for local contractors and personnel to bid for jobs as they come available and I have that information with me,” said Vicktor.

Stewin was also interested in safety of the pipeline.

“I thought that they were very informative and answered my questions effectively,” said Stewin. I spent quite a bit of time talking to them about their safety plan and walked away from there feeling like I could ask questions anytime.”