Trans Mountain values the positive working relationships we have built with local governments along the Project corridor, and our goal is to foster collaboration and continue a dialogue to understand any concerns and mitigate them where we can. These multi-faceted relationships have been developed over our nearly 65-year history of operations and include a number of functions.
Trans Mountain is a significant taxpayer to municipalities. The Expansion Project will create a long-term legacy of tax revenues to support vital government services we all rely on. This includes an additional $26.6 million in annual property taxes for local governments and reserves – that’s more than double the current amount. Local governments will also receive compensation as part of securing land rights for the Project, if the pipeline crosses any of their lands.
We are also a community supporter. To date, we’ve signed 18 Community Benefit Agreements with local governments along 95 per cent of the pipeline route to help compensate for the disruption caused during construction. As a result, close to $8.5 million will be invested in education and training opportunities, infrastructure projects, and park and trail enhancements. We’re also supporting educational institutions and have signed funding agreements with Thompson Rivers University, Camosun College and Coquitlam Foundation.
The foundation of these relationships is collaboration. In August 2014 we initiated Technical Working Groups (TWGs) with local governments as part of our comprehensive engagement program. The TWGs provide an opportunity for Project technical teams to work directly with municipal staff, to gather information and input needed to refine engineering, routing and construction plans. The sessions also serve as a forum to raise concerns and address issues.
Trans Mountain acknowledges that some municipalities have expressed concerns about potential additional operations and maintenance costs they feel they could face over 50 years as a result of the Project. Potential costs related to buried utilities and road infrastructure were identified in the Associated Engineering report filed by municipalities with the NEB as part of the regulatory hearing.
The NEB considered that evidence, and ours, and ultimately determined the Project is in the public interest. The Board acknowledged our efforts and continued commitment to work with local governments to understand concerns and address issues.
Our intention is not to be a burden or a cost to any municipality. That said, when a local government believes it is in a situation of a loss, Trans Mountain has been meeting with officials to discuss outstanding concerns or costs. This applies to both the existing pipeline and the expansion.
We remain committed to working with each local government on how to mitigate impacts as the construction planning for the expanded pipeline progresses. Our Project will unlock significant economic benefits to our country. Local governments can take comfort knowing it will be done safely while balancing social and environmental interests and addressing community concerns.