Nestlé Waters and Kinder Morgan have agreed on a detailed route of the Trans Mountain expansion project, one year after Nestlé feared the pipeline route would damage the Hope Springs.
Gordon Nettleton, a lawyer representing Nestlé Waters, announced the agreement at a May 9 detailed route hearing in Merritt with the National Energy Board. Another Hope landowner, Eleonora Anderson, also came to an agreement with Kinder Morgan while landowners Debbie and Greg Dixon are still waiting to hear back from Kinder Morgan about their concerns.
On May 30, 2017, Nestlé Waters sent a statement of opposition to the National Energy Board, concerned with the proposed route of the pipeline, which would come within 20 metres of where the company accesses the 300 million litres of water it bottles every year in Hope.
The letter also stated Nestlé’s concerns about potential contamination and disturbance of the Hope Springs, both the surface and groundwater aquifer.
“Construction activities along the proposed detailed route are expected to cause unnecessary and potentially harmful disturbances to the physical expression of the Hope Springs, and could contaminate the high quality and highly-permeable groundwater aquifer and surface water Nestlé stewards and relies upon for its operation,” wrote Bruce Lauerman, natural resources manager.
Nettleton called the agreement a “tremendous accomplishment”: in addition to the modified route, Kinder Morgan was able to allay the concerns of Nestle about construction timing and methods.
In a May 1 submission to the National Energy Board, Kinder Morgan stated it was prepared to reduce the width of the pipeline right-of-way and work with Nestlé to develop an engineered blasting plan, appropriate ‘construction methodology’ and a plan to monitor surface and groundwater before, during and after construction.
Another Hope landowner, Eleonora J. Anderson, was meant to have a detailed route hearing last week, but she reached an agreement with Kinder Morgan before the hearing. Anderson, a landowner at 59850 Hunter Creek Rd., said she was impressed by the cooperative attitude of Kinder Morgan.
Anderson was able to come to an understanding with the company over the concerns she had — about the potential disruption of a salmon spawning habitat, potential damage to trees, vegetation and building, and the position of a Kinder Morgan staging area in a piece of land she planned to sell.
“On their own initiative, the National Energy Board, through a conciliatory process, organized several meetings over the past months, private meetings, in which I expressed my concerns and Kinder Morgan worked with me with those concerns and saw the merit to it, and came to a conclusion that works for the both of us,” she said.
There are still two Hope landowners, Debbie and Greg Dixon, who have not had their concerns heard by the NEB.
The new pipeline would cut through the Dixons’ property at 66352 Othello Road. Greg Dixon assured that he isn’t anti-pipeline, in fact, he has three pipelines running through his yard including Kinder Morgan’s original pipe.
He is, however, very concerned about the impact the building of the line will have on his home, his water source, the natural and built features as well as infrastructure on his property.
“There are issues here like we’re going to have to move out of our house, nobody’s discussed that. It’s not trivial stuff. Our water is at risk, nobody’s discussed that. I’ve got animals that range on the right-of-way, it has to be fenced. Nobody’s discussed that,” Greg said.
“It’s a fear of the unknown kind of thing, because nobody talks, nobody tells me anything,” Greg said, who also doesn’t know how much of the hill adjacent to the right of way will be blasted and how many trees will be removed.
The NEB decided against including Greg and Debbie Dixon in their detailed route hearings last week, as another property adjacent to the Dixon’s required a review of a variance application. A 23 January NEB letter of decision stated the board would issue a separate letter to the Dixons about their letter of opposition.
More than anything, Dixon said he would like a fair chance to negotiate with Kinder Morgan. Since a visit by a land agent in April 2017, the Dixons have not spoken to anyone from the company about their concerns. They’re left in the dark.
“The issue for me is the lack of an effort to come to that agreement. I’m available anytime. If somebody wants to get ahold of me from Kinder Morgan and discuss issues, well let’s do it. I’m inviting them to the table,” Greg said.
The lack of consultation was a concern expressed both by Nestlé and Eleonora Anderson before they came to agreements with Kinder Morgan.
On March 27, 2018, Nestlé stated “Trans Mountain has failed to initiate, let alone make any serious attempt at meaningful discussion regarding (our) concerns.”
The NEB, a regulatory agency tasked with regulating the “construction, operation and abandonment of pipelines” that cross provincial boundaries, is holding detailed route hearings with landowners along the Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. pipeline expansion project. Kinder Morgan estimates the Trans Mountain expansion project will cost $7.4 billion dollars.
The detailed route hearings last week were only meant to cover discussions on detailed routes, construction methods and timing. The NEB does not deal with compensation, this is to be worked out between Kinder Morgan and landowners.
Both Eleonora Anderson and the Dixon’s have said the amount they were offered was not sufficient: the Dixons were offered $9,694 and Anderson $20,000. Neither of the landowners have settled on compensation with Kinder Morgan.
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