By Andru McCracken

At Valemount’s August 27 council meeting, a spokesperson for Trans Mountain Corporation presented what she could about the proposed 7.4 billion dollar pipeline and what it means for Valemount. Although construction is set to start in this area in the spring many questions remain unanswered.

Jasmine Devick said much of the planning for this section of the pipeline is out of date and will need to be redone, that includes details about temporary worker accommodations.

She said that the contractor Ledcor Sicim is currently enquiring with local hotels about how many workers can be accommodated this winter.

In 2014, Trans Mountain had planned to house workers at a temporary camp within village limits across Highway 5 from the Best Western, however, Devick said that the location is no longer feasible because of highway access requirements.

Now they intend to set up the temporary camp at an undeveloped part of the Valemount Industrial Park (see map).

Trans Mountain Corporation plans to use an undeveloped area of the Valemount Industrial Park on the south side of Whiskey Fill Road to house their workers, shown in relationship to Valemount as a yellow triangle. /GOOGLE EARTH

The company still has to apply for a temporary use permit from the Regional District.

Devick said that the camp won’t come online until spring 2020 and she expects it would be in place for two years.

Without a construction schedule she said they don’t know yet how many people will be at the camp at any one time. What is known is that the accommodations will be full service and include laundry, dining and recreation.

“All of our sites include waste water management, internet connections, and power so we aren’t drawing on the resources of the community. We know that the infrastructure here is to serve the citizens, not necessarily us,” she said.

Councillor Pete Pearson asked the company to avoid crossing streams because of the low returns of salmon this year.

Devick said although the company plans to use spawning deterrent mats, they will not be used this year.

Economic impact
One third of the 7.4 billion dollar project is set to be spent in the Robson Valley and the North Thompson.

She said that Valemount will receive $185,000 in community benefits.

“This is an acknowledgement that we will be disruptive during the construction,” she said.

The figure pales in comparison to the tax revenue it will generate for the Regional District of Fraser Fort George which she said will receive $4 million dollars in taxation annually once the pipeline is complete.

Devick mentioned that Trans Mountain will be working with BC Hydro and Telus to keep power and telecommunications in service for the community. The three companies share the right of way in some places, so those utilities will need to be rerouted in some cases.

“We’ll be working together to ensure there is no interruption in service,” she said.

Low income housing
“I know there are a lot of concerns about housing and impacts on low income housing. As a part of our project we are committed and bound to look at the socioeconomic impacts of our project and find ways to mitigate any unforeseen impacts our project may have,” she said. “We are committed to have a positive, lasting legacy. We hope we will leave with a great neighbour still intact like we did with the Anchor Loop in 2008.”

The Anchor Loop Project twinned a section of the Trans Mountain Pipeline between Jasper and Rearguard Falls.
Councillor Hollie Blanchette asked if Trans Mountain would be willing to leave temporary buildings to help aid Valemount’s housing woes. Devick said that the buildings will be rentals, but that they did come to an agreement with another community to leave some units behind.

Mayor Owen Torgerson asked what would happen if the Regional District declined the location for the temporary worker accommodation.

Devick said she asked the Regional District what they could do if the location was denied. She reported receiving assurance that the Regional District had never in its history declined a temporary use permit for pipeline construction.