Council is sending a letter to the National Energy Board (NEB) about construction methods for the KMTM pipeline between Watson Elementary and Deerfield Crescent. The existing right-of-way of the 1953 pipeline runs under or near the backyards of about 50 homes.

Council is sending a letter to the National Energy Board (NEB) about construction methods for the KMTM pipeline between Watson Elementary and Deerfield Crescent. The existing right-of-way of the 1953 pipeline runs under or near the backyards of about 50 homes.

Chilliwack asks NEB to exhaust alternatives in a letter of comment on routing

Part of the letter asks for the BC Hydro rationale and justification for not allowing the pipeline route on its right-of-way

Chilliwack council is asking for all pipeline routing alternatives to exhausted to avoid residential disruption, in a letter of comment to be sent to the National Energy Board.

The NEB still has to approve Kinder Morgan’s final route for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and council was focused on the section between Watson elementary and Deerfield Crescent.

Council’s letter to the NEB will contain a request that BC Hydro provide its rationale and justification for deciding there’s “no possibility of proceeding” with the route P1, which would follow the BC Hydro right-of-way instead of going through residential neighbourhoods.

Chilliwack’s letter to the NEB will focus on five key considerations for pipeline routing, approved Tuesday by council, along with an amendment indicating council’s concern for the pipeline location.

One of the five is the BC Hydro rationale for not allowing its right-of-way to be used, and the other four considerations include:

• limiting the maximum depth to two metres below ground;

• reducing impact on homes/properties with drinking water safeguards;

• automated vapour monitoring;

• spill response plans developed in cooperation with city officials.

Kinder Morgan officials said because of the aquifer concerns, the company will use the open trench method over the aquifer from Vedder Road to Unsworth Road. The issue is that is expected to cause considerable disruption to homeowners along that route, and at the road crossings, which in that location includes Tyson and Watson roads.

“I’d be curious to see what BC Hydro concerns are,” said Coun. Jason Lum during the right-of-way discussion by council. “Maybe there is infrastructure more critical than drinking water, and if there is, I’d be interested to hear what it is. And if not, I think we should take a look at it because there is nothing more important than protecting our drinking water.”

The choice council is facing, Lum said, is between running the pipeline through the aquifer, or exhausting every other routing opportunity, which includes looking at using the right-of-way property of BC Hydro, or the ROW of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“I don’t want to come back to this 60 years later, only to hear we had a chance to take the route off the aquifer and didn’t,” Lum said.

Coun. Lum added: “We needed to strongly word that letter.”

Lum said later they wanted to make it clear that council strongly opposes any routing options that pose a risk to the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer, or to Yarrow Waterworks.

The amended motion asks the NEB for an explanation as to why pipeline routing will avoid and go around the Cheam Wetlands in Popkum, but not around the Browne Creek Wetlands in Yarrow.

Coun. Ken Popove wanted details on why BC Hydro would not permit use of its right-of-way for the pipeline.

He was told by deputy director of engineering Rod Sanderson that BC Hydro’s concerns relate to electrical induction. The problem was the impacts of a pipeline running closely along the same route as electrical lines.

The discussions also covered the location of shutoff valves for the pipeline, as well as spill response.

The routing discussions were topical, as Chilliwack residents showed interest and attended a by-invite meeting this week.

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