Abbotsford council emphasizes need for public consultations with Kinder Morgan

Letter will be sent asking company to hold extensive meeting before expanding its pipeline

A letter will be sent to Kinder Morgan Canada, emphasizing the city’s position that extensive public consultation needs to take place before the company begins its expansion project.

Kinder Morgan owns and operates the Trans Mountain Pipeline, a 1,150 kilometre line from Edmonton to Burnaby which carries 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The company wants to increase that amount to 850,000 barrels a day.

A right of way, approximately 42 kilometres long by 30 metres wide, runs through Abbotsford. There is also a pump station and storage facility.

While council agreed that a letter should be sent, councillors had different opinions on how it should be worded.

Coun. Patricia Ross said specific features of the area, that could be at risk, should be identified in the letter.

Bio diversity, endangered species on Sumas Mountain, the extensive network of streams and as well the air quality implications.”

She said an increase in tanker traffic will have an impact on air quality in the Fraser Valley.

Coun. Henry Braun said another component to the letter should be a “thank you” for the cleanup they did following the spill in Abbotsford in January.

I think that approach, instead of insinuating that they are always doing something that they ought not to be doing might stand us in good stead.”

He said he isn’t defending Kinder Morgan but he wants to work with them as opposed to ‘beating them up.”

Coun. Bill MacGregor disagreed saying Kinder Morgan “scrambled” to get the cleanup done.

I think we have a real problem with pipelines in this country, never mind our own city,” he said.

MacGregor said he’s all for dialogue, but the city has to take a strong and resilient posture.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman agreed the city needs to work with Kinder Morgan to ensure the public is properly consulted.

It is also worth noting that they pay us, currently, about $2 million in tax for the existing right of way and if this proposed pipeline comes through, that would probably rise by a million to a million and a half per year,” said Banman.