Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline where it crosses the Watson Elementary school yard in Chilliwack.

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline where it crosses the Watson Elementary school yard in Chilliwack.

Chilliwack pipeline meeting ‘by invite’ for affected neighbours

Hope meeting March 7 open to public, March 8 meeting in Chilliwack invitation only but company says others won't be turned away

Representatives for Kinder Morgan will be talking to residents of Hope and Chilliwack next week about routing and construction plans for the twinning of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline that runs through the city.

The meeting in Hope Tuesday is a “drop-in public information session” where, the company says, it will seek input “on how we can complete construction activities safely and efficiently while minimizing disruption to our neighbours and protecting the environment.”

The meeting in Chilliwack the next night, however, is invitation only.

About 1,000 residents who live near the pipeline right-of-way in Sardis recently received postcard notices about the meeting.

A company spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the March 8 meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. was “by-invite” to those in the neighbourhood “to learn more about construction plans in Chilliwack.”

Local pipeline opponents have focused particular attention on the route of the project across the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer, the source of the city’s drinking water.

The WaterWealth Project created a Facebook event inviting people to attend the Chilliwack meeting.

A spokesperson for Trans Mountain said even though the meeting is by invitation for those affected by the construction, they won’t turn people away at the door.

Via email the spokesperson said information shared at the event will be posted online after at www.transmountain.com/Chilliwack.

Two days after the meeting, March 10, is the deadline for Kinder Morgan to file its Plan, Profile and Book of Reference (PPBoR) for the route segments from Popkum to Coquitlam. Notices should go out to landowners on the route and that will trigger a 30-day period during which time people can file opposition.

Opponents to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion continue the fight to stop the project, or at least change the route, but the company has said the route is set.

“Trans Mountain determined the best routing option is to follow its existing right-of-way,” a flyer distributed in January said. “Other route locations are no longer under consideration.”

The National Energy Board does still has to approve the routing.

And WaterWealth Project campaign director Ian Stephen says nothing is approved, so the route can be changed.

“It’s not over till it’s in the ground,” Stephen said in January.

The existing pipeline, which carries diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands to the terminal in Burnaby, runs through the backyards of two dozen homes on Roseberry and Montcalm roads, and as many again in the Canterbury Drive area.

The right-of-way crosses the back sportsfield at Watson Elementary, and also runs very close to Vedder Middle School.

paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch

Chilliwack Progress

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