Trans Mountain has an award-winning track record when it comes to mitigating impacts of pipeline construction in environmentally sensitive areas.

Our goal is to protect the environment, have as little impact as possible and where we do have an impact, to ensure we are returning the land to its original function.

For our Expansion Project, Trans Mountain will route the pipeline between Burnaby Terminal and Westridge Marine Terminal via a 2.6-kilometre tunnel drilled through Burnaby Mountain. This means there will be no surface disruption in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation area or residential areas and streets between the two facilities.

The tunnel, at its deepest point, will be approximately 160 metres below surface. Trans Mountain decided to drill a tunnel — an additional $40-million cost compared to surface-level construction — as a result of consultation with the community, its request to see the existing pipeline rerouted and our objective of minimizing disruptions to landowners, neighbours and road users.

In 2014, Trans Mountain geotechnical tests at two sites in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area to determine if a tunnel would be a feasible alternative to surface-level pipeline construction between Burnaby Terminal and Westridge. That work necessitated the removal of fewer than 10 trees.

Mitigation, carried out in consultation with the City of Burnaby, concentrated upon on the environmental impacts of this work and upon impacts of foot traffic related to a demonstration related to Trans Mountain’s investigative work.

Once the work was concluded, Trans Mountain worked with City of Burnaby staff on a restoration plan that involved extensive replanting of disturbed areas including planting 350 young deciduous and evergreen trees and deactivation of trails that are not part of Burnaby’s designated trail system. Trans Mountain crews also carried out landscaping improvements on a popular designated trail.

An initial construction step for the Expansion Project is the clearing of land and the removal of trees located within the boundaries of our facilities, along the pipeline right-of-way (ROW) and temporary working space. This clearing is undertaken to accommodate the installation and safe operation of the new pipe and supporting facilities.

Tree Management  Plans are being developed for each municipality affected by the Project. Trans Mountain must meet all regulatory standards. We will be clearing outside of the migratory bird nesting window. Where necessary, biologists will conduct bird surveys, monitoring, raptor surveys, species-at-risk surveys and salvages prior to any land clearing.

The right-of-way itself will not be replanted with trees, but all of the temporary working spaces where trees are removed will be reforested.

Trans Mountain has spent a lot of time and effort developing remediation plans specific to the areas we are working in. Various environmental surveys and studies have been conducted for this Project. The results of these surveys enable us to plant what’s best suited to the ecosystem we are working in.

If the reclamation isn’t meeting our expectations, we will amend the area as needed and reseed or replant to ensure vegetation establishment is successful.