By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG
Mayor Owen Torgerson attended a meeting with Trans Mountain (TMX) representatives on September 29th to share feedback after construction of the company’s pipeline expansion project.
The expansion project is a “twinning” of the company’s original pipeline that was built in 1953 and runs from Burnaby to Strathcona County near Edmonton, Alberta. Construction near Valemount began in summer 2019 and the project is now entering final stages in the region.
Torgerson told The Goat issues discussed at the meeting included worker accommodation, local health care, and communication.
He said while there was “no doubt” the project had a positive impact on Valemount’s economy, the Village would like to see improved communication in the event of another project coming through the Robson Valley.
“One of the key pieces for improvement was around communication — having insight to worker numbers, potential injection of more workers than originally projected, local healthcare impacts, and planned breaks so businesses could align product orders,” Torgerson said.
He said clearer communication regarding resources required — both local and corporate — were needed in order to adapt to changes in worker population ahead of time.
Other topics discussed included worker numbers, community benefit, project timelines, and policing.
According to Torgerson, Trans Mountain will generate a findings report on the subjects discussed at the meeting which will be shared with the Village upon its completion.
“The findings report can be shared with academia, such as UNBC’s Community Development Institute, so they can add to their existing data, as well as other communities that could experience extreme boom and bust cycles,” Torgerson said.
He said TMX liaisons were open to both positive and negative feedback.
The Goat reached out to Trans Mountain for more information about the meeting but didn’t receive a response by publication time.