Trans Mountain explains plans

Representatives from Kinder Morgan hold open houses in Valemount, Blue River and Clearwater. Session planned for Barriere Feb. 21

(L-r) Scott McDonald

“If you’re a local worker, we’re looking at you first.”

That was the word from Kinder Morgan spokesperson Kate Stebbing to an open house held Thursday evening, Feb. 9, at Dutch Lake Community Centre in Clearwater.

It was snowing heavily that night but it didn’t stop nearly 40 local residents from attending the session.

About a dozen representatives from the pipeline company were on hand to talk about Kinder Morgan’s plans to twin its Trans Mountain pipeline.

About a dozen representatives from the pipeline company, including Stebbing, were on hand to talk about the project.

Roughly 65 people attended an open house held in Valemount on Tuesday to discuss the plans. Another 27 turned up for a similar session in Blue River on Wednesday.

The company has a regulatory commitment to give priority to hiring Aboriginal, local and regional workers, she said.

There are no quotas but, if a person, fits into one of those categories, he or she should register with Kinder Morgan for the project.

The company won’t be doing the actual hiring, Stebbing noted. That all will go through the various contractors.

The contractors also will need to look first at Aboriginal, local and regional suppliers for procurement opportunities.

Project to cost billions

About $4.5 billion worth of goods and services will be purchased during the project, Stebbing said.

Overall, the project is expected to cost $6.8 billion. About one-third of that will be spent in the B.C. Interior.

The company has committed $8.5 million community benefit agreements, including $390,000 for Clearwater.

Kinder Morgan got firm commitments from its customers before starting the project and so it should be economically viable no matter what.

If things go according to plan then site preparation and river crossings should begin in late summer or early fall, Stebbings said.

The activities will begin in the Valemount area and gradually make their way south.

Pipeline construction will take place from October of this year until September, 2019.

Restoration work will begin in January, 2018 and continue until December, 2024, including a five-year monitoring phase.

The plan is to have the expanded pipeline in service by December of 2019.

Company makes commitments

The federal government put 157 restrictions on the project, she said. These mostly have to do with environmental issues, but also construction details and socio-economic impacts.

B.C. added another 37 conditions, although there is some overlap.

Over 1,000 commitments have been made to stakeholders and communities, and filed with the National Energy Board.

Clearwater will be the construction hub for Spread 4, which stretches from Blue River to Darfield.

May, 2018 to June, 2019 will see the main construction efforts in the Clearwater area.

There will be a sleeper camp for 350 people plus a pipe lay-down and construction yard.

With the workforce expected to reach a peak of 700 workers, additional accommodation will be needed in town.

There also will be business for restaurants and other services.

All workers, including those employed by contractors, will have to sign a worker’s code of conduct.

Using a bigger pipe

Because of the electrical power situation in the North Thompson Valley, the size of the second pipe has been enlarged from 36 inch to 42 inch.

The easier flow will mean a pump station that was to be constructed near Rearguard Falls past Valemount will not be needed. Two river crossings have also been eliminated.

Although a number of questions were asked, the overall mood of the meeting did not appear to be hostile to the project. One landowner asked how many other landowners had agreed to the terms offered by the company, and was told more than 70 per cent.

The pipeline expansion project will see a second, larger pipe laid from near the Alberta border through the North Thompson Valley to Darfield.

A second pipeline that already exists from Darfield to just north of Kamloops will be re-activated.

The expansion project will nearly triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline.