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Construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is set to begin in September 2017. There are many steps to building a pipeline and one of the first activities in preparation for construction work is removal of trees and vegetation in areas along the pipeline, at temporary worksites and at facilities.

Pipelines are installed within a strip of land known as the right-of-way. Before the right-of-way was selected, an study corridor was determined and studies were undertaken to identify the best route for the Project. Although most of the pipeline will be built along our existing Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMPL) right-of-way, some clearing is required to accommodate construction of the expanded pipeline for:

  • A permanent easement adjacent to the existing right-of-way. As part of our Pipeline Protection Program, Trans Mountain requires visual access to the pipeline easement to ensure integrity of the pipeline and for access for maintenance.
  • Temporary construction areas are needed adjacent to the right-of-way to stage equipment and personnel. All temporary workspaces will be reclaimed according to our Environmental Protection Plans (EPPs).
  • Facilities construction taking place within our existing properties. However, in some areas, such as our Burnaby Terminal, a permanent fenceline expansion is needed to relocate existing infrastructure and tree removal within the property line is required to do this work.

Tree and vegetation removal work will comply with necessary approvals and permits and our Environmental Protection Plans. Vegetation clearing at the sites will be monitored by experienced environmental inspectors. In addition, registered professional foresters and certified arborists will be on-site as needed for the oversight of tree protection to minimize potential impacts to the right-of-way and neighbouring trees.

Site-specific field reviews have been conducted and data has been collected on trees to identify potential wildlife impacts, including considerations of migratory and nesting birds. Tree removal activities will occur in appropriate migratory bird windows and will comply with the Migratory Birds Convention Act.

Our Tree Management Plans include selective tree removal, which means assessing trees for risk to public, property, infrastructure, construction equipment and personnel. In some areas, our right-of-way will be narrowed from 18 metres to 10 metres to limit the number of trees being removed.

We have developed reclamation plans that for each community taking into account the plant species naturally found in the local ecosystems. The disturbed permanent easement will be revegetated with grasses or low growing shrubs, while temporary workspaces will be planted with appropriate tree species. Rural, open and Crown land areas will be planted with conifer and deciduous seedlings of various sizes. Our land agents work with landowners to ensure private landscapes are re-established according to landowner agreements.

We are committed to a minimum five-year post-construction monitoring program. In addition to meeting regulatory requirements from the National Energy Board, we will work with communities to minimize impacts and reclaim the disturbed lands, while meeting pipeline safety requirements. Neighbours and stakeholders directly impacted by clearing activities will be notified directly in advance of work occurring.