FVRD will fight pipeline under our 'Stanley Park'
The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) has a long list of tough questions for Kinder Morgan regarding the company's $5.4-billion oil pipeline expansion project through local communities. Near the top of the list of FVRD concerns is whether Kinder Morgan plans on running its new pipeline right under what a senior staffer calls the Stanley Park of the community-Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park.
"I sure hope not," FVRD chief administrative officer Paul Gipps told the Times Tuesday. "I think the residents look at that as our Stanley Park and a no-go zone.. . I think if they tried to it would be a fairly good dog fight."
The existing 60-year-old Trans Mountain pipeline runs 1,150 kilometres from Edmonton through two electoral areas and three municipalities in the FVRD en route to Burnaby.
Kinder Morgan's proposal is to triple the capacity of the pipeline and, for the most part, run the second pipe in the existing right-of-way. There are some locations, however, where residential development has grown up around the rightof-way since the pipeline was built in 1953. Through electoral Area D the pipeline runs south of Highway 1 through Bridal Falls and Popkum, then crosses the highway and runs under Minter Gardens and on into Chilliwack.
During consultation in Hope in June, the company posted two options for the route running on the north side of the highway through the heart of Area D. "It could impact a number of private properties and also our regional park property," Area D director Bill Dickey said at the time. "We prefer they stay in the existing right-of-way."
In the spring, Kinder Morgan requested to survey the Cheam Lake Wetlands, a 107-hectare regional park just east of Chilliwack. FVRD staff and directors were briefed about the Trans Mountain project during a workshop in Surrey in March, but the board still has dozens of questions about impacts: socioeconomic, agricultural, environmental and recreational.
At Tuesday's meeting, FVRD board of directors were presented with a staff report outlining questions to be sent to Kinder Morgan to be answered in a timely manner.
Any response from the company will be little more than a courtesy as the FVRD is well aware it has no regulatory authority over pipelines. Kinder Morgan does have an obligation to consult local governments, something the company has been engaging in for months.