What route would you choose?

The NEB route approval process for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project is under way now, so setting aside whether one thinks the project should be built or not, what route would you choose?

Below are several route alternatives. Kinder Morgan's first principle of route selection is to stay within the existing right-of-way that was used to construct the original pipeline in 1952/1953. There has also been much talk of a BC Hydro right-of-way option. WaterWealth has put forward the idea of a route parallel to Highway 1. The blue shaded area on the maps is the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer.

On the BC Hydro right-of-way option, Kinder Morgan says that technical issues could not be resolved with BC Hydro, so this route alternative is no longer an option. [UPDATE: With the communications between Kinder Morgan and BC Hydro now coming to the City and into the public record it turns out that this was not quite true. There is a route BC Hydro would accept, 12m outside their southernmost conductor on those powerlines.] It is important to note that this route option would have removed the pipeline from Watson Elementary School and reduced impact on residential areas, but would have been of negligible benefit for drinking water supplies. The pipeline would have been a little further away from City of Chilliwack wells, but it would have made no difference at all for Yarrow Waterworks wells.

The option put forward by WaterWealth is to route the pipeline parallel to Highway 1. Kinder Morgan has objected that the route along the highway is not practical because of future highway expansion and difficulties at interchanges. However farm land and golf courses along the highway give a potential 400 to over 800 metres to find a route through at those interchanges. Whatever room might be needed for eventual highway expansion (an unfunded idea many decades into the future) could be allowed for in the route selection. Kinder Morgan's comments on this route option were rebutted in this statement to the NEB.

 

Kinder Morgan's Route, 1953 & Current Proposed
Blue shaded area is the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer

route_alternatives_1953.jpg

Kinder Morgan says this is the best route. They have not justified why it is the best route other than to refer to their first principle of route selection - to stay in the existing right-of-way.

Problem Areas

  • Crosses 245 properties
  • Crosses farms
  • Crosses two schools, Vedder Middle School and Watson Elementary School
  • Runs through several residential areas where the right-of-way may exceed the space between homes
  • Crosses the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer, the sole drinking water source for most of the City of Chilliwack
  • Crosses the City's Protected Groundwater Zone
  • Crosses capture zones of City drinking water wells
  • Crosses Peach Ponds, an area where significant investment has been made in salmon habitat enhancement
  • Crosses the Vedder Rotary Trail, perhaps the most heavily used outdoor recreation feature in the community
  • High risk Vedder River crossing
    • in a zone of very high liquefaction risk
    • near the Vedder Mountain Fault, one of four geologic faults on the pipeline route Natural Resources Canada identified as of particular concern
    • upstream of Yarrow Waterworks wells & the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve
  • Crosses Browne Creek Wetlands, another area where significant investments have been made in salmon habitat enhancement and recreational trails.

 

BC Hydro Alternative
*Company says no longer an option, though they need NEB approval to move it out of this route

route_alternatives_bchydro.jpg

Route the company said they were going to use during the NEB hearing. More recently Kinder Morgan says this is no longer an option. There is a new public hearing on Kinder Morgan's request to change out of this route (the purple bit in the middle of the aquifer). People with an interest in this particular piece of the route have until 3pm September 21 to apply to participate in that hearing, what the NEB are calling the Chilliwack BC Hydro Route Realignment. Participants can apply as either  a commenter or an intervenor. Commenters do one letter of comment. Intervenors have a greater level of engagement with opportunities for information requests, written evidence and oral hearings.

Problem Areas

  • Crosses ~175 properties
  • Crosses farms
  • Crosses one school, Vedder Middle School
  • Alongside residential areas
  • Crosses the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer, the sole drinking water source for most of the City of Chilliwack
  • Crosses the City's Protected Groundwater Zone
  • Crosses about 380m from City drinking water wells
  • Crosses Peach Ponds, an area where significant investment has been made in salmon habitat enhancement
  • Crosses the Vedder Rotary Trail, perhaps the most heavily used outdoor recreation feature in the community
  • High risk Vedder River crossing
    • in a zone of very high liquefaction risk
    • near the Vedder Mountain Fault, one of four geologic faults on the pipeline route Natural Resources Canada identified as of particular concern
    • upstream of Yarrow Waterworks wells & the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve
  • Crosses Browne Creek Wetlands, another area where significant investments have been made in salmon habitat enhancement and recreational trails.

 

WaterWealth Proposed Route
(Exact alignment to be determined)

route_alternatives_hwy1.jpg

Route proposed by WaterWealth. City said they have no objections to this route generally. Exact alignment would have to be determined.

Problem Areas

  • Crosses ~75 properties
  • Crosses farms
  • Pinch point at Chilliwack airport

 

What route would you choose? Have your say now!

The City of Chilliwack is participating in an NEB "Appropriate Dispute Resolution" process. It is not clear what is being negotiated. Such things as monitoring and spill detection only tell us when a contamination event has happened, assuming they work. There are many cases where such systems have failed, like the two Trans Mountain spills in 2013, or the 5-million litre Nexen spill in 2015.

Please support the city to insist on the only thing that would guarantee that City and Yarrow drinking water sources are safe from pipeline leaks - change the route to move the pipelines off of the aquifer, as is being done for part of the route in Burnaby.

You can contact the Mayor and all Councilors with one message at www.chilliwack.ca/main/page.cfm?id=673&contactID=181

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