Kinder Morgan has released its preferred route for the second Trans Mountain pipeline corridor.
In Langley, it has listened to concerns from the community and avoided altogether the Salmon River valley to the west of Fort Langley. This shows that community concerns and citizen activism have resonated with Kinder Morgan, and the company is being a good corporate citizen by paying attention to those concerns and making changes.
Instead of running the new pipeline through lowlands and farms, the proposed pipeline will be twinned along the existing route, on the hillside above the Salmon River, to a point just west of 216 Street. There it will leave the original alignment, run north, cross 88 Avenue, and go through Redwoods Golf Course, owned by the Township of Langley.
It will go through the course almost to 96 Avenue, and then run along the CN right-of-way west to the Surrey border.
There will be concerns about the new route. Redwoods operators will be concerned about how pipeline construction will affect their business. Nearby residents may be concerned about the possibility of spills.
However, these questions should be answered by Kinder Morgan. The Township, which has intervenor status in the pipeline hearings, has the ability to press for answers.
The company has also made a number of significant changes in the proposed routing in Coquitlam and Burnaby, and is avoiding running the new pipeline through residential areas. This takes away a major concern of residents and local politicians.
Burnaby in particular was concerned about the potential for a repeat of a pipeline rupture in North Burnaby in 2007, which damaged several homes and caused more than $15 million in property and environmental damage. This is one reason the City of Burnaby is so opposed to the twinning proposal.
Kinder Morgan is now proposing to drill a tunnel through Burnaby Mountain to avoid the residential routing, which seems to be a far better solution.
The proposed routing is not a done deal. It still must gain approval from the National Energy Board, and there are many B.C. residents who remain opposed to any pipeline expansion.