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MP Stewart releases map of pipeline route in Burnaby-Douglas

Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart -
Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart
— image credit:

After releasing a map he commissioned to let constituents know where Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline runs, Burnaby-Douglas NDP MP Kennedy Stewart said the biggest surprise has been in people's reactions.

"I think what's starting to surprise me is how few people are aware of the extent of the [pipeline] infrastructure in Burnaby," Stewart said from Ottawa.

"It is a little bit of denial period right now, I think, for folks living in Burnaby," he said. "It's just such a giant project in a place that's relatively calm, and not used to really this non-consensual kind of development happening."

Kinder Morgan is proposing to twin the pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, to facilitate the export, via tanker ships, of oil sands crude to overseas markets.

As reported in the NewsLeader, Stewart has warned that if the proposal is approved by the National Energy Board, land could potentially be expropriated for the major $4.1-billion construction project which would involve large trenches along the company's right-of-way. That could possibly include Burnaby homes, which have been built within the safety zones of the pipeline since it was first installed in the 1950s.

"That's why I think it's important to get this information out there," Stewart said.

He hired a consultant to produce the map of the existing pipeline route using data from government sources. It's drawn to scale, showing the right-of-way being 18-metres wide, although the pipeline can have right-of-ways up to 30 metres wide.

"We've been very conservative in the drawing of it."

The pipeline route criss-crosses parts of North Burnaby as it leads to the Chevron refinery, Suncor's facilities, the Westridge terminal, the Kinder Morgan tank farm, and to Vancouver International Airport through the leg dedicated to jet fuel.

"It is a very extensive network of piping. I don't really know if Kinder Morgan plans to put new pipeline over all of that. I would think they probably would have to," he said.

"And this is why it's so important for us to have some idea of what their plans are."

The company will conduct its consultation process in the next few months and expects to file a formal application for government approval in 2014. If it gets the go-ahead, construction would start in 2016 and the expanded pipeline would be in service by 2017.

Meanwhile, last week Kinder Morgan announced it had finalized commitments—binding, 20-year contracts—with customers for the expanded pipeline capacity. If the expansion is approved, it would have customers for 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) of capacity, up from the current 300,000 bpd.

But Stewart noted that people shouldn't assume that the twinned pipeline will have a maximum capacity of 750,000 bpd, suggesting an approach could be taken similar to overbuilding a highway for future traffic needs.

"The trick is really, get the pipe in and you can apply for changes later as well. The infrastructure is key here."

Meanwhile, Stewart will continue to raise awareness of the project and determine how constituents want him to proceed on the issue.

A large version of the map will be on display at his constituency office, 4658 Hastings St., on Hats Off Day, Saturday, June 2. More detailed neighbourhood maps and information on the project will also be available.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

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