New Westminster studying pipeline concerns

New Westminster is hiring a consultant to consider the potential impacts of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Mark Allison, the city’s manager of strategic initiatives and sustainability, said the alignment near the Brunette River was previously designated as an alternate route but has since been reclassified as the “selected” route for the pipeline’s expansion.

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“Right now we don’t have the same level of information that we had for the selected corridor,” he said.

Allison told council the city wants “complete information” about what is being proposed before the process carries on.

On Monday, council approved a consulting budget of up to $15,000 to have a qualified environmental professional review potential impacts of the proposed pipeline expansion.

Kinder Morgan  has applied to the National Energy Board to expand its pipeline, which runs from Alberta to Burnaby.

“I think this is very, very important,” said Coun. Lorrie Williams. “We have struggled so hard to get that creek back to life.”

The City of New Westminster is planning a townhall meeting for early September. The city is contacting groups like the Sapperton Fish and Game Club and New Westminster Environmental Partners, as well as MPs and the MLA, as part of its submission to the National Energy Board.

“Due in large part to the efforts of groups such as the Sapperton Fish and Game Club, 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 salmon, as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout,” Allison wrote in a report to council. “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.”

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