City of New Westminster to host Town Hall Meeting on Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
New Westminster - On January 22, 2015, the City of New Westminster, in partnership with local MLA Judy Darcy and Members of Parliament Peter Julian and Fin Donnelly, will host a Town Hall meeting on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion proposal. The Town Hall will be held at the Anvil Centre in downtown New Westminster from 7:00 – 10:00 pm and will include an expert panel providing economic and environmental perspectives followed by an opportunity for audience members to identify issues and ask questions on the proposal.
In December 2013, Kinder Morgan applied to the National Energy Board for permission to construct an expanded pipeline from Alberta to its Burnaby Mountain storage and shipping facility. The proposed pipeline expansion would triple the capacity of diluted bitumen being transported from the oil sands in northern Alberta. The pipeline currently runs through central Burnaby and Coquitlam, but it is proposed that it now run through the Brunette River watershed that is shared by Coquitlam and Burnaby and New Westminster and, in some locations such as the Braid Industrial Area, immediately adjacent to the river.
The City has been granted intervenor status in the NEB review process in order to represent New Westminster’s interests, particularly community safety and the protection of local businesses and ecosystems. The deadline for the City to file its submission to the NEB on its position is May 27th.
“The City of New Westminster is an intervener in the National Energy Board review and it is important that we hear from community members about their concerns so that we can bring these to the NEB’s attention,” said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote.
The use of the Brunette River alignment could have potential impacts on New Westminster during construction and, in the case of a pipeline failure, potentially catastrophic environmental impacts on the Brunette and Fraser River ecosystems.
Due in large part to the efforts of groups such as Metro Vancouver and the Sapperton Fish and Game Club, the Brunette River has gone from being a biologically dead watercourse to a recovering stream with thousands of spawning fish. The river’s ecosystems are still fragile and the stream restoration work undertaken since 1969 could be easily undone in the event of a spill of chemicals.
“The City and its partners have worked hard for decades to restore the highly sensitive Brunette River watershed back to health. It is our responsibility as environmental stewards of the river to ensure that everything necessary is being done to protect this fragile ecosystem,” said Councillor Jaimie McEvoy, co-chair of the City’s Environmental Advisory Committee.
The Town Hall will also be live-streamed on New West TV at www.newwest.tv and web viewers will be able to make comments or ask questions on Twitter using the hashtag #pipelineNW.