The manifold area at Trans Mountain Pipeline’s terminal in Burnaby.
Photograph by: Ward Perrin , PNG
From The Vancouver Swine (Sun)
VANCOUVER — Kinder Morgan’s proposed $5.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion avoids several areas in the Lower Mainland that have become built up since the company’s existing line was constructed in the 1950s, but the company had fewer options in Burnaby.
The proposed route skirts new neighbourhoods in Langley and Surrey — in Walnut Grove and Fraser Heights, respectively — by moving the pipeline closer to the Fraser River to utilize railway and road corridors.
And while the proposed new route in Burnaby uses the Lougheed Highway corridor, it still passes near a neighbourhood that contains Meadowood Park north of Broadway, and also through residential areas adjacent to Hastings Street and Cliff Avenue, which is adjacent to the Burrard Inlet Conservation Area.
The pipeline-twinning proposal — which will nearly triple capacity to 890,000 barrels a day and bring 400 more tankers a year to Burrard Inlet — has already seen opposition from environmentalists, First Nations and community groups, including in Burnaby. Their chief concern is the risk of spills from pipelines and tankers.
The route outlined in Kinder Morgan’s more than 15,000-page project description, submitted to the National Energy Board on Monday, differs significantly in Burnaby from the existing route.
The existing route passes directly through a larger area of residential neighbourhoods, including west of Marmont Street, south of Clarke Road, and near Duthie Avenue.
About 73 per cent of the twinning project follows the existing route, including through most of the B.C. Interior.
Kinder Morgan senior project director Greg Toth said the company couldn’t follow the existing route in the Lower Mainland because constructing the pipeline in neighbourhoods built-up since the original pipeline began operating 60 years ago — in some instances where the pipeline is buried beneath residential properties — would be too disruptive.
Generally, a 40-metre-wide construction zone is needed for road access, to place dug-up material and install the pipe, noted Toth.
Structures cannot be built on Kinder Morgan’s 18-metre pipeline easement, but there are lawns and gardens in the easement on people’s private properties, he noted.
The new route will follow existing highway and rail corridors, including Lougheed Highway for about five kilometres. In an effort to avoid residential areas, the proposed route also skirts Burnaby Mountain Parkway below Simon Fraser University.
Toth noted there is also a possibility of extending the pipeline north of Burnaby Mountain Parkway.
Under the National Energy Board’s rules, Kinder Morgan is allowed to file updated route proposals during the review, which, once its application has been accepted as complete, must be finished within 15 months. That will bring a decision on the project sometime in 2015.
Burnaby residents are particularly sensitive to Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline routing as there was a major incident in 2007 that spilled nearly 250,000 litres of crude oil after a road crew’s excavator hit the pipeline.
About 50 homes, property, and a section of the Barnet Highway were hit with oil when the 24-inch pipeline was ruptured, resulting in a 30-metre geyser spraying for about 25 minutes.
About 70,000 litres flowed into Burrard Inlet, and a 1.2-kilometres stretch of shoreline was affected. The cleanup cost roughly $15 million.
Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart, whose riding encompasses a large portion of the proposed route, said the project application “explodes” the idea this is a simple expansion of the existing line.
In Burnaby, 99 per cent of the route is new, he said.
Stewart said he is concerned that pipeline construction along Lougheed Highway will be very disruptive to Lower Mainland residents.
“While they may have avoided some of the residential areas in Burnaby, I don’t know this is much of a solution,” he said.
The Trans Mountain expansion, similarly to the $6.5-billion Northern Gateway project, is meant to open new markets in Asia for diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands. Canadian oil producers rely almost completely on the U.S. market.