“I love British Columbia and have lived here for more than 30 years. My children live here and I’ve got five grandchildren who love to be out on the water, so I want to make sure that everything we do is for their safety and the safety of future generations.”

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It’s Lizette’s job to make sure all viewpoints and feedback expressed by stakeholders and the public are heard and addressed, as well as leading the communication efforts about all facets of the Project.

She sat down with us to talk about her experience reaching out to the people and interested groups in communities affected by the proposed expansion.

What is your background with the Trans Mountain Expansion Project?

I’ve worked on this Project for almost three years and it’s been a very rewarding experience. It’s something I look forward to every day. I love my job and the opportunity to work with the communities and to help people understand what the Project is about.

What is the purpose of meeting with communities along the pipeline route?

For almost three years, we have been meeting with the public, Aboriginal communities and others with an interest in the Project to listen to feedback and answer questions and concerns. To date, we’ve done more than 90 open houses and workshops

Stakeholder feedback makes our Project better. There’s a lot of value in what people have to say because they know their area. We take that local knowledge and incorporate it into our planning to make sure we’ve got the best route and the best Project possible. As an example, our engineers will look at changing the pipeline route based on the local feedback we’ve gathered. And we will continue to revise our proposed route by acting on public feedback.

What types of concerns are you hearing from people?

Concerns and interests range across a number of topics from water crossings, wildlife and soils, to property values. We also hear questions about community benefits, safety concerns and marine issues. People want additional information to feel more comfortable about the Project.

Listening to the community helps us to make sure there is minimal impact to the environment and to our neighbours. We’ve been around for 60 years and it’s important that we continue to be a good neighbour by minimizing impact on the local environment as much as possible.

How do you answer questions and share information with the public?

We share information in a wide variety of ways. We combine methods such as our website, open houses and Project newsletters, with social media, digital town halls and telephone town halls. No matter how people want to receive information, we find a way to make sure they get it.

We also give people the opportunity to provide feedback through one-on-one meetings, telephone calls and email. We welcome the feedback and answer every Project-related question.

What things are considered when defining the pipeline route?

We have to consider what’s going to create the least impact for the community and how we will protect the environment in the area. Safety and security are important, as we must minimize any risks in the event of an earthquake, avalanche or mudslide.

We consider a number of options such as engineering possibilities and looking how to use existing right-of-ways as much as possible. We also consider the environment and how we can enhance it through construction and remediation.

What would you say is the number one priority for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project team?

Safety is our number one priority. Safety of our environment, our employees and the communities in which we operate. Safety is paramount to this Project and to our operations.

Why is safety important to you?

One of the reasons the environment is important to me is that I live here. I love British Columbia and have lived here for more than 30 years. My children live here and I’ve got five grandchildren who love to be out on the water, so I want to make sure that everything we do is for their safety and the safety of future generations.