RMG File Photo

By Laura Keil

Trans Mountain has not released data on the number of workers laid off in March and April in the Valemount area, but a spokesperson said there are still 1700 workers based in the community, only 300 less than reported mid-February.

As of presstime Monday, the spokesperson could not confirm yet whether or not Ledcor-Sicim had re-won the bid for the 4a pipeline spread between Blue River and Vavenby.

The spread was re-tendered in February “to seek cost certainty, increase productivity and to ensure schedules are met” a spokesperson said. Terrain of this portion of the expansion project includes sections of wetlands, rivers and streams, rocky and mountainous terrain, steep slopes, and numerous areas with access limitations.

Ledcor-Sicim remains the contractor for spread 3.

Trans Mountain announced Feb 18th that the cost to twin the existing pipeline and triple its capacity had increased to 21.4 billion, up 8.8 billion from the last estimate. The timeline for projected “mechanical completion” was pushed to the third quarter of 2023. The previous estimate had been the end of 2022.

In a news release, Trans Mountain blamed the cost increases on the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the November 2021 flooding in British Columbia ($3.1 billion), as well as project enhancements ($2.3 billion), scheduling pressures pertaining to construction challenges in difficult terrain ($2.6 billion), route changes, and safety and security ($500 million).

The federal government said with 50 per cent of the pipeline already built and the project “significantly de-risked” it will not pledge any further tax dollars on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but rather direct TMC to secure private funding.