Strategic or Flailing?

With all the twists and turns of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in Browne Creek Wetlands one has to wonder whether there was some long standing strategy that's played out or whether it's just the result of the project flailing as it tries to make progress. Their plans change faster than "interested parties" (as the CER puts it) can comment.

In any case, the damage is done so far as destruction of the bit of forest either side of Browne Creek, and with their latest variance application Trans Mountain go beyond reducing the physical scope of hearing commitments and chip away at whether "construction" means "construction" or whether construction for a different purpose doesn't count.

And unfortunately this time the City of Chilliwack chimed in with support.

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All along, the destruction of Browne Creek's riparian area was all about the Browne Creek crossing itself, and the creek and physical wetland feature along it were partially protected by a commitment to do that work during the least risk window for fish.

WaterWealth argued that protection applied to the whole of Browne Creek Wetlands because the hearing decision had said "Browne Creek Wetlands". But Trans Mountain claimed it only applied to a small physical wetland feature within Browne Creek Wetlands, and when WaterWealth wrote to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) speaking of the Commission's intent in the hearing decision, the CER responded that the one map Trans Mountain relied on to diminish the words "Browne Creek Wetlands" settled it. Never mind the four other maps in the same evidence filing that indicated differently.

Then even that bit of protection became inconvenient for Trans Mountain, and suddenly taking down all the trees on either side of Browne Creek is all about the Vedder River crossing and the timing commitment is about the purpose of work done in the riparian area rather than whether work will be done in the riparian area, during particular times. That despite both Trans Mountain and the CER having said the two water crossings were two separate things when WaterWealth brought up concerns about the overlap two times in the past.

Now Trans Mountain want to build a bridge over what remains of Browne Creek in the path of their pipeline, and use it as a route for heavy equipment to the Vedder River crossing rather than come from the parking lot to the east from which they've already prepared and been using access for heavy equipment.

Anyone with an interest in the well being of natural spaces in and around our community is invited to compare these two comments on Trans Mountain's latest variance request.

WaterWealth's https://apps.cer-rec.gc.ca/REGDOCS/Item/View/4262305

City of Chilliwack's https://apps.cer-rec.gc.ca/REGDOCS/Item/View/4264939

We await the CER's decision. Any bets which side of the dispute they'll favour?

Photos: September 5, 2022 (Trees were cut by Aug 25).

Looking south across Browne Creek, through the area where large trees used to shade seasonal ponds that drained into Browne Creek.

Looking south through where mature trees used to shade seasonal ponds that flowed into Browne Creek

 

Entry site for the Vedder River trenchless crossing and proposed Browne Creek trenchless crossing.

Trans Mountain workspace for trenchless crossings to the north and (proposed) south

 

Looking east along Trans Mountain's existing access route to the entry site.

Trans Mountain's existing access from the east

 


 

 

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published this page in Blog 2022-09-08 18:17:00 -0700