Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) includes significant measures to protect the marine environment — as well as wide-ranging commitments and actions, which deliver lasting, positive benefits to marine communities.

Spill prevention and response

Project brings enhanced spill response for the South Coast

We’re providing $150 million over 20 years to the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) to enhance spill response capacity on the coast. WCMRC will have 62,890 tonnes of spill recovery capacity compared to a Canadian Shipping Act requirement of 10,000 tonnes. WCMRC estimates it will add about 115 new personnel, for a total of 180, and is adding six new response bases. The personnel will be in place before the first tankers associated with the expansion begin calling at Westridge Marine Terminal in 2019. WCMRC’s vessel fleet is more than doubling, from 35 to 75 including response vessels and large and small barges. Most of the 70 new jobs and most new vessels will be located at new bases around the southern end of Vancouver Island.

Proposed Vancouver Island base locations include Nanaimo, Saanich Peninsula, Beecher Bay and Ucluelet/Port Alberni. WCMRC also plans to situate an offshore support vessel at Victoria’s Ogden Point.

Already, WCMRC is moving ahead with plans to build a new on-water spill response base in Vancouver Harbour, near New Brighton Park, streamlining operations and significantly reducing spill response times on the south coast of BC. The harbour base, along with a new Fraser River base, will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The combined workforce for these two bases includes 45 new personnel.

Although TMEP is providing the funding, new WCMRC personnel, vessels and equipment will be available for any spill incident along the BC southern marine shipping route.

In addition, WCMRC is developing a digital Geographic Response Planning Tool to co-ordinate its response activities and to co-ordinate and map the locations of all its available equipment, vessels and personnel. So far, more than 400 individual Geographic Response Strategies have been developed. The tool includes a real-time app for identifying priority areas for spill protection in the event of a spill. WCMRC plans to update its response strategies to encompass the entire BC coast.

 Managing risk in the marine environment a priority

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project includes numerous marine safety measures. These measures will build on the current marine safety regime, which has helped ensure that no tanker departing Westridge Marine Terminal has experienced a spill since the terminal commenced loading operations in 1957.

To further increase shipping safety, Trans Mountain has committed to several enhancements to marine risk controls. These include additional pilotage along the shipping route, extended tug escort and working with marine pilots and bridge crew to enhance situational awareness of tankers.

Trans Mountain will extend tug escort of laden Project tankers for the entire outbound shipping route, i.e., from Westridge to Buoy J (the western entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, near the 12-nautical mile limit of Canada’s territorial sea. Tugs used for escorting tankers are already highly capable, however, the tugs escorting tankers through the Strait of Juan de Fuca will be bigger and more capable than any available in the region now.

National Energy Board Condition 133 requires the enhanced tug escort with minimum tug capabilities be in place by the time the Project comes into service; anticipated for late 2019. Once the new tug package is in place, Trans Mountain will incorporate it as part of the requirements of its vessel acceptance criteria, ensuring all vessels that call at Westridge adhere to it.

Jobs and revenue

More ships means more marine jobs and revenue for Metro Vancouver

The economic benefits from additional ship activity in the Vancouver port are substantial for the Metro Vancouver economy. Trans Mountain estimates about 350 additional tankers — about one per day — will call on Westridge Marine Terminal each year if the Project goes ahead, compared to about one per week at present. Additional tanker activity creates about 1,300 permanent marine jobs, mostly in BC. Most of the jobs are in-water transportation activities such as escort tugs and pilot services for tankers, but sectors such as helicopter transport, customs clearance, food services and even garbage disposal will also benefit.

Each Aframax tanker calling at Westridge creates an average $366,000 in marine sector benefits, based on information from shipping agents. Increased tanker activity at Westridge annually generates $127 million of additional spending for the local economy — or $2.5 billion over the first 20 years of TMEP operations.

On a broader scale, greater marine access gives Canadian shippers marketing options that generate $18.5 billion in additional fiscal benefits for Canada over 20 years of operations at Westridge. As well, an agreement with the Government of British Columbia commits Kinder Morgan Canada to paying BC as much as $1 billion over 20 years into a new BC Clean Communities Program.

Education and training

Trades students on Vancouver Island benefit

Kinder Morgan Canada donated $400,000 to Camosun College, reflecting our sector leadership in supporting the training of trades students to meet the growing demands of the coastal economy. The donation is for dedicated space to house the Coastal Skills Initiative at the Vancouver Island college’s Interurban campus and to support student bursaries and scholarships. The initiative is designed to identify emerging employment issues, trends and opportunities and link them with a range of skilled trades programs at Camosun — with an enhanced coastal perspective. KMC’s donation is the single largest contribution in support of the initiative.

Coquitlam Foundation MOU supports Tri-Cities students

The Coquitlam Foundation and TMEP have a Memorandum of Understanding that will see a $300,000 contribution over 20 years. The money funds annual awards for eligible secondary students in School District 43 who are pursuing studies in nautical science, marine engineering, heavy mechanics, environmental science, social work and/or emergency management studies. Scholarships will be available for various diploma programs offered at BCIT, Douglas College and other recognized post-secondary institutions and awards will be available after all Expansion Project approvals. The scholarships, through the Coquitlam Foundation, include:

  • Trans Mountain Pipeline Award for Nautical Science – BCIT
  • Trans Mountain Pipeline Award for Marine Engineering – BCIT
  • Trans Mountain Pipeline Award for Heavy Mechanical Trades– BCIT
  • Trans Mountain Pipeline Award for Environmental Science – Douglas College
  • Trans Mountain Pipeline Award for Environmental Studies – Douglas College
  • Trans Mountain Pipeline Award for Bachelor of Emergency Management and Security Studies – Justice Institute of BC
  • Trans Mountain Pipeline Award for Emergency Management Certificate – Justice Institute of BC
  • Trans Mountain Pipeline Award for Environmental Trades and Social Work – recognized post-secondary institute

BCIT Marine Campus equipment upgraded

Trans Mountain is committed to working with the marine industry to ensure the safe movement of vessels that travel in BC waters and call on the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. That’s why in 2011, Kinder Morgan Canada joined the Government of Canada, Transport Canada and various local West Coast marine entities to upgrade the multi-million-dollar marine simulation centre at the BCIT Marine Campus in North Vancouver.

The centre offers a variety of navigation training and safety programs. The simulation training takes place on all vessel types from tug boats to large cargo ships and oil tankers. The centre includes a ship’s main bridge simulator, which duplicates many scenarios a ship’s crew and captain would encounter, such as rolling seas and high winds.

Although Kinder Morgan Canada is not directly involved in marine shipping, we contributed $250,000 to the centre that helps train crews who ensure vessels move safely along our coast.

This contribution was one of several initiatives Trans Mountain supported prior to the decision to proceed with the Expansion Project. Others include:

  • Participation in Vancouver Fraser Port Authority review of the Second Narrows Movement Restriction Area Procedures (2004-2010)
  • Contribution for expert review of escort techniques (2007)
  • Contribution and logistics for live trial (2007)
  • Contribution for improved pilotage equipment (2009)
  • Support for joint Pilot and Tug Master training (2009)
  • Support for improved Navigational Aids (2010)

Supporting marine species

Salmon foundation gets conservation funding

We contributed $50,000 to the Pacific Salmon Foundation in 2015 to aid in the protection and conservation of wild salmon in Burrard Inlet. This donation was made partly in response to stakeholder concerns collected to date through Project engagement — there is great interest in advancing the recovery of local salmon populations moving in and out of the inlet.

As noted in the National Energy Board’s final report on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, TMEP is committed to supporting wild Pacific salmon and is willing to support the Foundation’s Salish Sea Marine Survival Project and its objective of better conservation and increased abundance of chinook salmon.

Creek restoration group in Burnaby upgrading website

The Stoney Creek Environment Committee has worked tirelessly to restore the salmon population in this small Burnaby creek, a tributary to the Brunette River that has its headwaters on Burnaby Mountain. In April 2017, Trans Mountain provided $6,000 to the committee to upgrade its website and further research into salmon migration and spawning activity in the creek.

Juan De Fuca Salmon Restoration Society receives funds

Trans Mountain has contributed $5,000 to the volunteer-run Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society. The funding goes towards the operating costs of the Charters River Salmon Interpretive Centre, a facility in Sooke that each year helps thousands of visitors, including young students, understand the salmon life cycle. The Interpretive Centre includes a hatchery and a spawning channel.

Marine fish habitat proposed

We’re proposing the creation of a series of rockfish reefs in the Eastern Burrard Inlet Rockfish Conservation Area. This would compensate for any negative impacts of foreshore development at Westridge Marine Terminal and increase the productivity of marine fish habitats in the inlet. The proposed reef system would provide habitat for rockfish, as well as numerous other species of fish and invertebrates. This habitat would be built during construction of the new Westridge Marine Terminal, in compliance with a federal Fisheries Act requirement to offset effects to fish habitat that cannot be avoided or mitigated.

Funding marine research

Burrard Inlet wildlife research project co-sponsored

In 2015, Trans Mountain and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority co-sponsored a marine bird mapping study in Burrard Inlet. TMEP’s contribution was $27,000. The results of the study, which was conducted by Bird Studies Canada and the Pacific Wildlife Foundation, have been integrated into our GIS database so it can be used by the Port and others as they plan the appropriate conservation and protection of marine birds in the area. The study, titled Status and Distribution of Marine Birds and Mammals in Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm, is available here.

South Coast cetacean research program supported

Trans Mountain has done substantial work to identify potential environmental impacts and mitigation methods to reduce the impact of the Project.

One of these efforts includes financial support to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-led Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program. The ECHO Program aims to better understand and manage the impact of shipping activities on at-risk whales throughout the southern coast of BC. In 2015, we committed $1.6 million over three years to ECHO. This funding was not contingent on the Project proceeding.

The Expansion Project will increase tanker calls at Westridge Marine Terminal by about 350 tankers per year — which will comprise 6.6 per cent of all large commercial vessels traffic in the Juan de Fuca Strait. This does not include other marine traffic such as ferries, fishing vessels and recreational boats. Kinder Morgan Canada believes that threats to at-risk whales are occurring regardless of whether the Project is approved. KMC believes this is a complex issue that must be addressed by all marine users.

“We’re committed to working openly and co-operatively with the marine community to address issues of common interest,” Mike Davies said. “The ECHO program is a great example of how industry can support a collaborative approach to solving issues that are bigger than any individual company or project.”

The ECHO Program supports a series of individual short-term projects, scientific studies and education initiatives. They focus on three key threat categories: acoustic disturbance (underwater noise), physical disturbance (vessel collision) and environmental contaminants.

Reducing environmental footprint

Green Marine standards met at Westridge

In 2013, Westridge Marine Terminal joined Green Marine, a conservation program for the North American marine industry. Green Marine encourages participants — ship owners, ports, terminals and shipyards — to achieve levels of environmental performance that exceed regulatory requirements in areas such as air emissions, greenhouse gases, cargo waste management, community impacts (noise, dust, odours and light), water and land pollution prevention and environmental leadership. More than 40 governments, municipalities and environmental groups have endorsed the program. Currently, more than 70 ship owners, port authorities, terminals and shipyards in Canada and the United States are participating.

In 2016, Westridge was independently verified at Green Marine Level 3 in the categories of Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollutants, Spill Prevention and Community Impacts and we increased to a Level 4 in the Environmental Leadership category.

In the spirit of continual improvement, we’re working to ensure an expanded marine terminal has a further reduced environmental footprint. 

Promoting safe boating

Small boat operators advised about ‘rules of the road’

Some small boat operators take an enormous risk every time they cross close ahead of an oncoming large commercial vessel. If the small boat breaks down, the ship operator has little chance to avoid a collision.

Kinder Morgan Canada is supporting efforts by the Pacific Pilotage Association (PPA), Transport Canada and the BC Chamber of Shipping to raise awareness in the marine community about small boat safety and the dangers of cutting across the bow of a container or cargo ship or a tanker.

KMC team members have been working with PPA to inform boat operators — everyone from kayakers and windsurfers to sport fishing guides and commercial fishermen — about their responsibilities for safe navigation in and around shipping routes and the need to follow the ‘rules of the road’ when large ships are moving through. The outreach campaign will benefit the entire marine community.