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REPORTING · 25th November 2013
Walter McFarlane
Council was given an update by Bruce Wells, Director of Project Planning and Execution and Ian McLeod, the Community Relations Advisor for Coastal Gas Line Project came to Council on Monday, November 18th. They were in town to present to Council and hold an open house after being fogged out earlier this month.

Earlier that day, they had an open house at Tamitik.

“I think it’s officially been 16 months since we started the project, June 7th of 2012 and I think the last time we were in front of Council was last October during our first community open house series that went across the province from Kitimat to Dawson Creek,” said Wells.

This pipeline travels from Dawson Creek down to Vanderhoof and travels west directly towards Kitimat. This pipeline will service the LNG Plant which will be built upon the old Methanex Site. They explained the pipe will be buried one metre below ground, buried under rivers and streams. It will only come up at Valves and compressor stations. The Right away will restored once the pipeline is buried so it will not have to be maintained. It will be monitored 24/7 from Calgary and the compressor stations.

There is a change. The pipeline will be 650 Kilometres long. They were able to shorten it in a few places and breaks away from the other pipelines and it will follow Hirsch Creek into Kitimat. It will transfer 2.1 billion feet of gas per day, although the capacity could be 5 billion cubic feet per day.

“Our commencement of construction is still slated to be in or around 2015, possibly early 2016,” said Wells. He told Council they will be commencing around the end of the decade, once all of their permits are in place.
They are learning people are concerned about routing, jobs and environmental issues across the footprint. They have been using this information to guide their project. They have spent time studying the birds, fish and wildlife. They will be salvaging timber by working with the timber companies before they chip and burn.

Wells told Council they are looking over all of the information. They know there are landslides and snow slides in the mountains. They are looking at which roads they will be using and upgrading. When and if they get permission, the matters are settled and people in the areas understand the plan. The next stage is public input.

The benefits to BC include jobs. They have been doing a lot of field work with all the hours being local. Lots of restaurants, hotels and local services have been used. They are using local BC companies for this project.

“Most of the jobs in Pipeline Construction are temporary. They last three years. The cycle of construction is about that. We’re talking about 2000 to 2500 people working in local environments from 2-3 years. What you leave behind when the pipeline unfortunately for most communities is a work force of 25 – 30 but those are 25-30 really good jobs and those are 25-30 jobs that are in local communities and those are 25-30 jobs that can create some apprenticeship opportunities for local people if they are available and it gives them something and a lot of the jobs that are created during pipeline constructions are portable, so people start liking to work on pipelines actually start following them around the country,” said Wells.

He stated they will be helping people learn the skills they need to get going, get jobs and pay taxes. Finally, they have a million dollars of community investments. In Kitimat, they made an investment to the Kitimat Fire Department. They are looking for topics they can focus in and invest in. They want to invest in humans rather than bricks and mortar.

“Summing up, we’re making progress, we’re listening, we’re putting repeatable faces out into the communities that are knowledgeable, we’re bringing people to the communities which can answer the questions about ‘how can you build a pipeline?’ ‘How could you possibly build a pipeline over these mountains?’ ‘What can you do at a river crossing to reclaim the banks and make sure it never leaks?’ ‘Do you go above or below?’ We’re trying to get the people out into the communities that are credible, that have actually done the work over and over and they can answer your questions. That’s why I’m here tonight and we’re in the community open houses tonight,” said Wells.

Council had some questions. Councillor Phil Germuth stated that people in Kitimat enjoy going into the great outdoors and asked him to ensure that public access is a part of their recreation plan. He also suggested partnering to create recreational opportunities. He was told their preference was to keep traffic off of the right of way. They try to stop that. Otherwise, the pipeline route becomes a free hiking trail. As for building recreation, they are looking at what they need to focus on.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff asked about the noise from the Compressor station and where the closest one to Kitimat was. He was told it would be south of Houston. He was told while they were loud on the inside, they were quieter on the outside.

Councillor Rob Goffinet asked a technical question before inquiring about what was donated to the fire department locally in Kitimat. The reply was they passed the cheque over but have not had a chance to follow up with it.

The next step for the Coastal Gas Pipeline is to submit their environmental application to the BCEAO followed by a comment period.