Construction on the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline through Abbotsford isn’t likely to begin anytime soon after Kinder Morgan updated its projected construction schedule with the National Energy Board.
The company had previously projected that it would begin clearing land for the pipeline in Abbotsford this September, with the entire pipeline system ready to go by the end of 2019. Now the company has put a September 2020 end date on completion, and even that’s up in the air. If the stalled project does proceed, clearing now won’t begin until next October at the earliest, with construction to follow, according to a document posted online.
A company spokesperson told The News that now that the project’s overall schedule has been updated, “we are now in the process of reviewing each of the regional schedules and will update them on the website when we have that information.” A schedule and priority list submitted to the National Energy Board suggests work in the Fraser Valley is among the company’s lowest priorities and that construction will start after October of 2018.
The project has faced court challenges and opposition from landowners and municipalities – including the Township of Langley – where the company needs permits. The provincial government has also signaled its opposition to the project, which has been approved by the federal government and National Energy Board.
The pipeline runs through Abbotsford for around 30 kilometres. It runs beneath hundreds of private properties, along with the city-owned Ledgeview Golf Course, which will see significant disruption when construction proceeds. In the Sandy Hill neighbourhood of Abbotsford and beneath the Van Belle Nursery, the company plans to use trenchless boring techniques to twin the pipeline. The project will also see significant work done at the Sumas Mountain Tank Farm, where one tank will be added.
Work in the Sandy Hill area had been expected to begin in January 2018, with direct pipe work at the Van Belle Nursery beginning in April. It now appears unlikely that work will take place anytime soon. Dave Van Belle, the owner of Van Belle Nursery, said he has yet to sit down with the company, which is still trying to negotiate with landowners.
In addition to the pipeline itself, the delays also seem likely to slow the replacement of the Ledgeview Golf Course. The city is counting on $1.3 million promised by Kinder Morgan before the old clubhouse burned down last April. But that money is contingent on Kinder Morgan obtaining “all regulatory, government and corporate approvals” and completing all necessary due diligence. If the Kinder Morgan money doesn’t materialize, the city has said it will have to reconsider its plans for the site.