The Application for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project filed in December, 2013, identified a preferred proposed pipeline corridor and, in some areas, alternatives for consideration. To minimize impact to communities, Trans Mountain conducted thorough engagement with Aboriginal groups, landowners and stakeholders, including local, regional and provincial governments to guide routing decisions and put together a proposed route that follows 73 per cent of the existing pipeline’s right-of-way. An additional 17 per cent of the route would follow existing utility corridors and infrastructure where using the current route would be more disruptive to communities or the environment.

A combination of technical and environmental studies, on-the-ground fieldwork, routing workshops and open houses were completed in each community to seek feedback to help refine the route. Feedback gathered from these activities has resulted in changes to some areas filed in the Application. Trans Mountain will continue to engage stakeholders, landowners and those directly affected by route changes to provide updates and gather feedback to help with construction planning.

The next major step in the routing process includes Trans Mountain submitting a Plan, Profile and Book of Reference (PPBoR), which describes in detail the exact portion of the pipeline corridor proposed to be traversed by the pipeline and the names of the owners and occupiers of the land parcels. The PPBoR will be filed with the National Energy Board (NEB) after the Federal Government makes a decision on the Project in December 2016 and issues a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN).

The filing of the PPBoR triggers the issuing of routing notices and maps to affected landowners. Upon agreement of the route between Trans Mountain, landowners and the NEB, construction can begin. If objections are raised, the NEB can recommend a Detailed Route Hearing.

In the case of a Detailed Route Hearing, Trans Mountain would be required to provide the evidence that determined the preferred route and be able to compare other viable options. Landowners would have the opportunity to question Trans Mountain’s evidence and provide their reasons for opposing and suggest alternatives.

The NEB then considers the evidence presented by all parties and makes a decision to accept or reject the detailed route. If the route is accepted by the NEB, the Project moves forward to construction. If the NEB rejects the route, Trans Mountain must complete engineering and environmental studies for a new proposed or alternative route and work through the process, remaining committed to reaching a voluntary agreement with each landowner.

Work space site preparation along the right-of-way is expected to begin in 2017, with construction occurring through 2018. Restoration of temporary work space impacted by construction will occur throughout the building of the pipeline and reclamation of the land will continue into 2019 through operation, along with ongoing Aboriginal, stakeholder and landowner engagement.