By Andru McCracken
Council voted in favour of granting Trans Mountain a temporary use permit to establish a contractor yard along Highway 5, south of the Dasol Restaurant with some conditions.
According to staff and the company’s application, the yard will be used to bend pipe, for some offices but no overnight accommodation. Water and sewage will be trucked in and out and no in ground water or sewer infrastructure will be installed.
Trans Mountain is trying to get permission from the Ministry of Transportation to access the property through the Dasol parking lot.
Village planner Megan Vicente said staff looked at how the temporary use might affect people living close by.
“One of our biggest concerns when considering this application is the impacts on neighbours, such as dust, traffic, noise, light pollution, as well as potential air quality issues on the community as a whole,” said Vicente.
Opportunity for district heating
A written submission from Borealis GeoPower asked council to convene a multistakeholder meeting to explore using geothermal heat to develop a district heating system.
“A meeting of the minds between all affected parties and the proponent is in the best interests of all stakeholders,” said Alison Thompson, CEO Borealis GeoPower.
Thompson pointed out that Trans Mountain has committed to developing carbon offsets and that this could be an example of a offset that could improve local air quality long term.
Trans Mountain’s community liaison Jasmine Devick appeared to dismiss Thompson’s request.
“If there were opportunities like that we would look at them, but they would have to be accredited. Offset projects require very high accreditation,” she said.
The public hearing for the Temporary Use Permit was packed, not with protestors but supporters. George Cook and Jeannette Townsend came to the meeting expressly to voice their support for the pipeline.
“I have no considerations and no opposition. I am in favour of the pipeline,” said Townsend, former mayor of Valemount.
Cook said he watched Trans Mountain install the pipeline in Jasper as said he was very impressed with their work.
“I’m totally in favour of the pipeline,” said Cook.
Eugene Jamin expressed concern about the area.
“We are in an environmentally sensitive area, that property happens to be adjacent to a wetland which drains into the McLennan which drains into the Fraser, so spills are of greater importance,” said Jamin.
Devick said that Trans Mountain would do everything in their power to mitigate impacts of the yard on nearby residents including, only using an onsite helipad for emergency purposes. Using directional lighting, mitigating noise, keeping construction hours from 7 am to 7 pm.
“Work would only take place on Sunday for very critical activities,” said Devick. “We like to rest too.”
The company would also mitigate dust and prevent the transfer of invasive species between this site and others and eventually reestablish a vegetative cover in the area after their work is done.
When the temporary use permit came before council, councilor Pete Pearson said he wanted to ensure that the camp was powered with electricity from the grid and not run generators due to the potential impact on air quality. Encouraged by Mayor Owen Torgerson, Pearson made this a condition of the temporary use permit.
Torgerson added another condition, limiting pipe bending hours from 9 am to 4 pm.
Trans Mountain is expanding its existing 1,150 km pipeline between Strathcona County, Alberta and Burnaby, BC. The twinned pipeline would increase the capacity of the system from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.