Kinder Morgan Canada works hard to be a good neighbour along the right-of-way for the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline. In Alberta, KMC’s land and right-of-way representative Barry Whillans engages with hundreds of landowners, communities and other stakeholders.

Barry has been doing this type of work for 30 years. His area of responsibility spans a large distance— the 338-kilometre section of pipeline right-of-way from Edmonton to the Alberta-BC border. We recently connected with Barry to learn more about his work.

What are your duties as land and right-of-way representative?

I work with the existing landowners on the right-of-way. I have lots of them between Edmonton and the Alberta-BC border, including Edson, Stony Plain, Hinton and Jasper. I keep the landowners informed of our maintenance activities on the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline system and engage with them so they have a contact should they have any questions or concerns regarding our operations.

I’m involved in community engagement if we have a maintenance project that will occur in proximity to landowners, neighbours and/or communities, and land acquisition if we need an interest in land, new infrastructure such as installation of new valves on the pipeline or additional right-of-way.

Another aspect of my job is to meet with members of the public, our neighbours and other occupants along the right-of-way to inform and update them about all activities we have on a day-to-day, month-to-month or year-to-year basis to give them a face and a contact should there be any issues or problems.

Where the Trans Mountain pipeline runs through urban areas, especially in residential neighborhoods, it’s important we work with the community when maintenance is required along the right-of-way.

Kinder Morgan Canada and Trans Mountain have been doing this kind of work for more then 60 years. Some very good relationships have been established with landowners and neighbours— we aim to act like neighbours ourselves. People along the right-of-way know they can trust us to do what we say we are going to do.

What is vegetation management?

Vegetation management involves managing or removing vegetation, such as keeping brush off the right-of-way or keeping it cleared for pipeline maintenance work. It starts out with our operations team identifying where on the right-of-way the growth is such that we need to go in and remove it. The method of removal varies with the existing land use. For most cases, it involves mulching or slashing/chipping. For areas that have been manicured, we re-landscape it, bringing in sod or seed for ground cover as quickly as possible after the trees have been removed. We might also offset the impacts of clearing in these areas by replanting some trees where it’s practical and feasible to do so.

When vegetation management activities are required, we work with affected stakeholders. In Edmonton, for example, our operational work in the city is determined in consultation with our adjacent neighbours along the right-of-way and with the City of Edmonton. They work with us to find a balance in vegetation management so we can ensure ongoing safe pipeline operations while preserving community values.

Tell us a bit more about the work in Edmonton.

Our right-of-way traverses the city of Edmonton, so one of the projects I’m currently working on is vegetation management along our existing right-of-way within the communities of Riverbend and Westridge Wolf-Willow. For the past few years, we have been working closely with a community task force and the City of Edmonton to achieve a collaborative and balanced outcome. Last year, we successfully completed work in Riverbend that included selective tree removal and the offset planting of trees and shrubs along the existing right-of-way. The next phase of this work will occur in Westridge-Wolf Willow. This will take place over the next couple of years. We are currently engaging with our neighbours, the community task force and the City about our plans to receive input and minimize the impacts of the work on the community.