Burnaby Now by Tereza Verenca / August 4, 2017
While B.C.’s New Democrats have vowed to “use every tool in the tool box” to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the company is forging ahead with construction next month.
“We continue to move forward with all aspects of the Trans Mountain Expansion project and are advancing our permitting processes in line with our construction schedule,” says Lizette Parsons Bell, the lead of stakeholder engagement and communications for the Trans Mountain Expansion project, in an emailed statement to the NOW.
“We have initiated our first pipe order and are finalizing our contracts with our general contractors, which we expect to have in place by the end of August. Construction activity will begin in September with completion of the expansion on schedule for the end of 2019.”
The twinned pipeline will transport raw bitumen from outside of Edmonton to Burnaby. Capacity will triple to 890,000 barrels of oil per day and tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet is expected to increase sevenfold.
The project received federal approval in 2016 and the former ruling B.C. Liberals OK’d it earlier this year. However, Premier John Horgan and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver are opposed to the expansion and have said they’ll work to stop it. What that looks like, however, is unknown at this time. The project is also plagued by numerous lawsuits filed by First Nations groups, who argue they weren’t properly consulted.
Construction in the Lower Mainland includes approximately 35 kilometres of pipeline, the expansion of the Burnaby Terminal and Westridge Marine Terminal, and a new tunnel through Burnaby Mountain connecting these facilities.
Ahead of shovels and excavators hitting the ground in September, Trans Mountain has given its website – transmountain.com – a makeover. The company plans to release local construction information as it becomes available.
The City of Burnaby has been a longtime opponent of the project, and calls the section of the new pipeline route through Burnaby “extensive and destructive.”
Dipak Dattani, the city’s deputy director of engineering, said the portion of the pipeline running through the city is in a completely new corridor from the existing pipeline, and it will cause a host of problems.
According to a staff report released in April, the Burnaby section will carry infrastructure woes, including the North Road crossing, which is jointly owned by Burnaby and Coquitlam. The Kinder Morgan project would “significantly constrain” the ability to repair, maintain or expand the bridge in the future, according to Dattani.
Tree and vegetation removal in residential neighbourhoods is also worrisome, states the report, because they provide visual and noise buffers for residents and businesses in those areas.
The city and Simon Fraser University have also repeatedly expressed concerns about the tank farm expansion, arguing it poses significant health risks should an explosion or fire occur.
Protests erupted on Burnaby Mountain in November 2014 when Kinder Morgan carried out survey work along the Trans Mountain pipeline. More than 100 people were arrested.
Staff Sgt. Maj. John Buis with the Burnaby RCMP told the NOW “we’re prepared for any eventuality” should more protests break out next month.
“We’re always prepared for these kinds of things,” he said.
What to expect during construction
The Burnaby Terminal currently has 13 tanks. One will be demolished and 14 new tanks will be built. Crews will start to clear the site on Sept. 5. According to Trans Mountain’s website, the expansion will also include an enhanced storm water treatment system.
The Westridge Marine Terminal expansion will include a new dock complex with three berths and a utility dock. Most of the work will occur from the water using floating equipment such as marine derricks, barges, tugs and workboats.
“We are currently developing traffic management plans to minimize disruption to neighbours when vehicles move to and from the Westridge Marine Terminal during construction that will take place over 30 months,” reads Trans Mountain’s website.
There will be some pile driving, too.
Construction hours at Westridge Marine Terminal are planned between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. No work will take place on Sundays and statutory holidays.
Meanwhile, two new 30-inch delivery pipelines will be built in a new tunnel running through Burnaby Mountain. Boring is scheduled to start in 2018.