Guest post: Carey Johannesson, Trans Mountain Expansion Project Lands Team

From the outset of Project planning, Trans Mountain developed routing principles to guide our routing decisions. Our primary focus when planning the pipeline corridor is safety – for landowners, the environment and communities.

With the aid of community input, and environmental, engineering and economic studies, the new pipeline will follow the existing right-of-way for 73 per cent of the route. An additional 16 per cent will follow existing utility corridors and the final 11 per cent of the new pipeline will be built away from the existing pipeline to accommodate urban development occurring since 1953.

One of the areas that has seen considerable change in the past six decades since the original Trans Mountain pipeline was built is the community of Westsyde in Kamloops. After consulting with our neighbours, the City and other stakeholders, we decided to route the expanded pipeline away from Westsyde and follow the existing TELUS Fiber Optic Transmission System that runs to the west. This route impacts fewer landowners and lessens the number of watercourse crossings, a key factor in our routing principles.

The Chilliwack residential neighbourhoods between Tzeachten Reserve and Unsworth Road have also undergone significant development. After exploring an alternate corridor, it was determined the best routing option is to follow our existing right-of-way. In order to help determine the final design and construction methodology, Trans Mountain will be gathering further geotechnical information in the area and will seek input on construction from stakeholders. You can learn more about the next steps in Chilliwack here.

Significant urban development has also occurred in North Burnaby, including the Westridge neighbourhood. After consulting with our neighbours and other stakeholders, we decided the best option is to route the Expansion Project away from the existing pipeline corridor through a tunnel directly connecting our Burnaby Terminal with Westridge Marine Terminal. The tunnel will be designed to accommodate three lines, including two new Westridge delivery pipelines therefore avoiding construction through residential neighbourhoods. We plan to move the existing Westridge delivery pipeline into the tunnel, subject to a separate regulatory application and all required approvals.

Now the Project has been approved and received a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the National Energy Board (NEB), one of the next major steps in the regulatory process is for us to file a Plan, Profile and Book of Reference (PPBoR). The PPBoR describes in detail the exact portion of the approved pipeline corridor to be traversed by the pipeline and the names of the owners and occupiers of the land parcels.

Filing the PPBoR triggers the issuing of routing notices and maps to affected landowners. Landowners have the opportunity to comment on or oppose the proposed detailed route and construction methodology by filing an objection with the NEB. The NEB considers all comments and objections, may hold hearings to gather further information and will then make a determination on the detailed route. Only after approval of the detailed route segment by the NEB and the lands rights needed for construction are acquired would Trans Mountain start construction on that section of the route. You can learn more about the detailed routing process here.

As part of our objective to create and maintain long-term relationships with landowners, our goal is to reach mutually acceptable agreements. Our land agents and engineering team have been working diligently with each of the landowners to identify and address their concerns.

As we move forward, we will continue to engage and communicate regarding our activities before and during construction. For more than 60 years we’ve been a good neighbour and it’s very important for us to continue to have a good relationship with the people in the communities we operate in.