Recognizing the inherent sensitivity of the Anchor Loop expansion project, and that real progress involves engaging in meaningful dialogue and relationship-building with those impacted or potentially impacted, Trans Mountain initiated a public consultation program early in the planning to:
- identify all potentially interested parties as early as possible and provide opportunities for engagement at levels appropriate to their interests;
- provide an opportunity for potentially affected parties to become informed about the project at the earliest possible phase of the project’s development;
- initiate consultation and engagement activities early to enable input to be considered in project design and routing decisions;
- provide various communication channels to make information available to stakeholders;
- notify all potentially interested parties about the project and their opportunity to participate in a manner appropriate to their needs; and,
- meet or exceed the expectations of the Parks Canada, National Energy Board (NEB), Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Environmental Assessment (CEA) Agency, and all other government agencies.
A Diverse Stakeholder Group
The engagement program identified the following stakeholders for the project: staff of Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park; landowners on the proposed pipeline right-of-way; local community area residents from Hinton, Jasper and Valemount; environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and individuals with an interest in national or provincial park policies, conservation issues, wilderness protection or ecological concerns; and federal, provincial and local governments.
A multi-stakeholder group was formed to identify opportunities to enhance the ecological and commemorative integrity of the parks. Other engagement methods for the project included: direct one-on-one contact; open houses; environmental issue workshops; the establishment of a toll-free information line; and engagement initiatives by telephone and electronic means.
Engagement Linked to Action
The comprehensive and intensive public consultation program began in spring 2004 and was closely linked to the Environmental Assessment (EA) process. A number of environmental concerns were identified through consultation activities with environmental organizations and/or individuals with an interest in conservation and the protection of ecological resources in protected parks. These issues were consequently addressed through pipeline routing and design mitigation approaches; a series of environmental issue workshop consultations; and a Net Benefit/Gain process designed to leave the parks with a positive legacy.