UPDATE: Council eyes pipeline benefits for pedestrian bridge

Council will be considering the matter at city hall, but signing
'does not indicate support' for Kinder Morgan's pipeline

Chilliwack council was set to vote Tuesday on whether to accept $800

Chilliwack council was set to vote Tuesday on a staff recommendation that the city accept funding from Kinder Morgan’s Community Benefits Program.

But even before the votes were tallied, the proposal was drawing fire from critics.

If approved, council would take the next step with a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Trans Mountain Pipeline LP,  with the understanding that signing will “indicate a willingness to receive community funding if the pipeline project receives approval from the National Energy Board (NEB),” according to a news release from City of Chilliwack on Friday afternoon.

The $800,000 in funding would go toward a $1 million pedestrian bridge linking the Vedder north and south trail links from the Southern Rail Bridge.

Ian Stephen, spokesperson for the Water Wealth Project, called the offer

“inappropriate” given that City of Chilliwack hasn’t submitted its comments yet, according to records posted on the NEB website.

“The main thing is the timing of this,” he said. “We are not comfortable with the timing of this offer from Kinder Morgan and hope that City Council isn’t either.”

On his blog post he likened the money to a “bribe” since the large sums of money “hinge on the outcome” of the NEB regulatory process.

But the city underlined that signing the MOU would not necessarily “indicate” support for the project.

“Such a resolution (MOU) would not indicate support for the pipeline project and Council will remain committed to working with the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) to continue to ensure the concerns of residents are addressed,” underlined city officials in the news release.

City officials will still provide direct commentary to the National Energy Board on the Kinder Morgan proposed pipeline expansion and twinning.

“In addition, as a participating member of the FVRD, Chilliwack is able to confirm that concerns over emergency response, environmental mitigation, air shed quality, and the protection of ecological diversity are addressed.”

The deadline for commenters is July 23, and Water Wealth itself is an intervenor in the process focused on water resources and aquifer being protected from industry, as well as seismic concerns.

“It just seems really inappropriate that we would be offered anything until they have completed their participation in the NEB process,” said Stephen.

They’re also concerned about the lack of public engagement so far on the issue.

“I would be very pleased to see the city spend some time and get some public input on this before making a decision. It may not be required of them, but it would be nice,” he added.

Kinder Morgan’s Community Benefits Program was set up to invest in local communities along the proposed pipeline route, and is “an acknowledgement and thanks in advance for people’s patience as some construction disruption will occur should the pipeline project receive approval,” according to the city release.

Although this pedestrian bridge linking the Vedder trails is listed in the Vedder Greenway strategic plan, the funding is 20 years away, due its high costs.

“Should funding be received the bridge project could potentially see construction in 2017.”

Merritt has already signed on to the KM Community Benefits program to the tune of $420,000 for trail paving and scholarships, Hope signed an MOU for $500,000 for park upgrading.

The city staff report also indicates a “substantial” amount of funding will also be offered to the University of the Fraser Valley.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

Just Posted

Westbound vehicles gridlocked on Highway 1 from crash in Langley

Estimated wait time to get past 248th Street is over an hour from Bradner Road

B.C.’s ‘Dr. Frankenstein of guns’ back in jail yet again for trafficking in Glock parts

Bradley Michael Friesen has parole revoked for allegedly importing gun parts yet again

Locally owned shops open doors for Chilliwack Christmas Craft Crawl

The 17th annual self-guided event takes place Nov. 21 to 24 at six locations throughout Chilliwack

B.C. man who murdered Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Chilliwack Visual Artists Association members upscale found items into art

CVAA group show ‘Upscale Art’ is at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre Nov. 20 to Dec. 28

VIDEO: Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe former co-host Don Cherry is racist

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Nov. 11, two days after controversial on-air comments during ‘Coach’s Corner’

Man accused in fatal Shuswap church shooting also charged with arson

Parmenter family home badly damaged by fire a month before killing

PHOTOS: Patients pelt doctors with snowballs, all for BC Children’s Hospital

The snowball fight was to raise funds for the annual Snowball Fight for Kids Campaign

Union to prepare for picket lines, announce new measures in transit strike escalation

Unifor said the move comes after a ‘failure by the employer to make new offers at the bargaining table’

Workers union calls strike vote in SkyTrain labour dispute

Mediated talks are scheduled to begin Nov. 28

‘Our culture is not a religion,’ Indigenous educator tells B.C. Supreme Court in case of smudging at school

Mother also gave evidence Tuesday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Wednesday

Trudeau to take sober approach to unveiling new cabinet for minority mandate

Liberals survived a bruising campaign that diminished Trudeau’s stature as a champion of diversity

Lowe’s says it will close 34 ‘underperforming’ stores across six provinces

The stores include 26 Ronas, six Lowe’s and two Reno-Depots

Most Read