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Detailed pipeline route through Chilliwack approved by federal regulator

‘Approval issued with no required changes to route, construction timing or methods’ report says

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) put its stamp of approval on the detailed route for the section of the Trans Mountain pipeline going through Chilliwack.

A decision letter from CER sent to City of Chilliwack, dated June 30, 2021 touched on the “three key questions” of pipeline route, construction method, and construction timing, finding that Trans Mountain’s proposed route using the existing right-of-way was the “best possible” route, and the method and timing were “most appropriate.”

Reps from Chilliwack council, and the WaterWealth Project, repeatedly stated over the years their main concern with the proposed route was ensuring protection of the city’s drinking water supply, the Sardis-Vedder aquifer, both from the new pipeline, and the existing one.

The $12.6-billion pipeline expansion project will triple existing pipeline capacity to about 890,000 barrels per day of oil products, including diluted bitumen.

Chilliwack voices were pushing to have the pipeline route moved to the Highway 1 corridor away from the existing right-of-way, a scenario that did not find favour with the federal regulator.

City officials also proposed a secondary spill containment system for the section of pipeline closest to city-owned drinking-water wells within the aquifer, but that won’t be happening.

“This approval was issued with no required changes to route, construction timing or construction methods, despite the submissions by the City of Chilliwack and others to the Commission,” according to the city staff report for the July 20 meeting.

The detailed route approval for the section through Chilliwack means the company can now finalize design details and schedule construction but the report noted the TMX website, does not yet contain a construction schedule for the Chilliwack portion of the route.

“We encourage residents to check the website for details periodically as schedule information becomes available,” the staff report noted.

RELATED: Work resumes on TMX as stop work order lifted

RELATED: City participated in detailed route hearings

RELATED: Aquifer protection sought by moving the route

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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