Frustrated with Trans Mountain

Trans Mountain Pipeline has an interesting approach to business. As stated by their agent, Daryl Goruk, they “do not make changes to their agreements,” which presents a challenge as I was brought up to never sign something I do not agree to. Another of their policies is that unless stipulated in a contract, this company does not acknowledge it. As a result, for the most part, it has been an exercise in futility to try to have, in writing, means to prevent Trans Mountain Pipeline’s continued use of my private property not included in their Right-of-Way or Temporary Work Space, in addition to their unnecessary damage of land, fencing, and farm implements as experienced over the past 25 years, and no restitution made.

As a result of wanting changes to their proposed contract to include such things as cleaning up and restoring their soon- to-be abandoned portion of their current Right of Way, I tried to ensure that Trans Mountain Pipeline will not be using it as a dumping ground for this project. In a letter dated December 9, 2019, Alain Parise, (Director, Land, Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC) wrote “Moreover, if this matter proceeds to ROE (going to court to file right of entry), the determination of compensation payable will be based on the right to use any areas outside of the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline right-of-way, whether for new incremental permanent right-of-way or for temporary workspace required only for the construction.” So translated, by not signing their “agreement” as it now stands which resulted in Trans Mountain having to petition the court for Right of Entry, Trans Mountain Pipeline will legally be allowed to continue their current policy of destroying private property and equipment beyond their legal parameters. Whether I sign or not, Trans Mountain Pipeline, with full support of the Federal Liberal party and our legal system, will continue destroying my property with restitution as they deem fit. A concession had been offered concerning cleanup of the Temporary Work Area but only to the condition they deemed acceptable, leaving me with no input considering the condition of my land.

Another point of interest is that the RCMP took away the right of freedom of speech and the right to protest from Canadians (Burnaby Mountain picketers) by having them arrested. Despite federal government policies regarding bullying and harassment, they do not protect citizens, such as me, from these very tactics at the hands of Trans Mountain Pipeline and their employees. It is a sad when a company feels the need to protect their employees from people frowning at them, but does not hesitate to send men to the home of a single, 60+ female ,living alone kilometers from the nearest neighbour, to bully me by intimidation, or their past policy of harassing me at my then-place of employment. In fact, according to the Trans Mountain Pipeline “agreement,” they will be able to prevent me from using my property (120 acres) as I see fit, such as allowing protests, a further restriction of my freedom of speech and rights as a landowner. Again, all sanctioned by our federal government and judicial system.

And to those of you that feel I should consider whatever economic benefits this community may experience for a maximum of 3 years, please remember that this is MY HOME, and long after the community has spent its profits, my property will still be trying to heal itself. Instead, maybe reflect upon what economic potential this pipeline project had presented to the Village of Valemount and area and had not taken advantage of, an opportunity which may not present itself for another 50 to 70 years.

Valerie Urquhart
Albreda, BC

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