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Pipeline route switch irks New West

New Westminster Coun. Lorrie Williams -
New Westminster Coun. Lorrie Williams
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Kinder Morgan’s plans to run its proposed pipeline expansion close to the Brunette River has New Westminster council worried enough to hire a consultant to find out what the potential impacts might be.

City planner Mark Allison told council on July 7 that Kinder Morgan originally wanted to run the line north of Lougheed Highway with the Brunette River alignment as an alternate route. Now, said Allison, it’s the route the company prefers.

The Brunette River route is why the city was granted intervenor status by the National Energy Board (NEB) for Kinder Morgan’s application to twin its pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby. Allison recommended hiring a consultant to review the potential impacts on the Brunette and Fraser rivers. In his report, Allison wrote, thanks to the Sapperton Fish and Game Club and other groups, “the Brunette River has gone from being a biologically dead watercourse with no spawning fish in the mid-1950s to a recovering stream with thousands of spawning fish, including chum, coho and pink as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout. The river’s ecosystems are still fragile and the stream restoration work undertaken since 1969 could be easily undone in the event of a spill of chemicals.”

Council set aside $15,000 to hire the consultant.

“We’re not going to accept [the NEB’s change of route,],” said Coun. Betty McIntosh.

“We’re going to ensure, and a lot of other intervenors are going to concur, that we want full details before the process can proceed.”

Coun. Lorrie Williams said Kinder Morgan may consider the route more convenient and cheaper, but that’s not the way the city looks at it.

“This is very, very important. We struggled so hard to get this creek back to life,” said Williams. “Money is not the most important thing here, our stream is.”

The city will hold a public meeting in September and also consult with the community including the fish and game club, and New Westminster Environmental Partners.

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