By Korie Marshall
Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion could mean changes to provincial park and protected area boundaries.
Kinder Morgan says their current study corridor for the proposed expansion does not cross any provincial parks in the Valemount area, and does not intersect any of the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George’s parks.
But freedom-of-information documents shared with the Goat dated May 2013 show the Ministry of Environment is anticipating applications by the end of 2014 for adjustments to parks and protected areas, including Jackman Flats, Rearguard Falls and the North Thompson River due to the Kinder Morgan expansion. . The Vancouver Sun reported proposed adjustments could amount to “new or enlarged industrial corridors slicing through protected areas.”
According to the documents, the Trans Mountain expansion could affect 10 provincial parks.
Provincial parks like Mount Robson, Rearguard Falls and Jackman Flats are Class A parks, protected under the Park Act or the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act. Unlike other Crown land, the legislation doesn’t allow permits to be issued for the extraction of resources or other commercial uses in Class A parks.
The borders of Mount Robson Park were changed in 2007 for their Anchor Loop expansion.
What happens when big companies want to build things like pipelines, transmission lines and resource roads near or through parks? The provincial government can change the borders of the park or protected area. The Ministry of Environment says the 2007 Trans Mountain expansion though Mt. Robson involved the deletion of 478 hectares along the existing corridors to facilitate the right-of-way for the Anchor Loop project’s second pipeline.
The Ministry of Environment confirmed to the Goat they have not received any requests for boundary adjustments to protected areas in the Robson Valley/Valemount area. The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George confirmed they haven’t received any requests for park boundary changes either. Kinder Morgan says their closest approach to George Hicks Regional Park is 350 meters, and their closest to Cedarside is 340.
But the ministry’s timeline for expecting requests has not yet run out. According to the document, the ministry expects applications from Kinder Morgan up to about November of 2014.
The Ministry says it can review any requests for boundary adjustments and if it supports the modification, it is considered by Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly, since adjustments to protected area boundaries usually require an Act of the Legislature.
The documents show Kinder Morgan may apply for boundary to changes to parks including Rearguard Falls, Jackman Flats, Blue River Black Spruce, Finn Creek, North Thompson River, Coldwater River, Coquihalla River, Bridal Veil Falls, and F.H. Barber provincial parks.