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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Federal government contributing nearly $4 million to First Nations community centre

The S.A.Y. Health and Community Centre will be built on a piece of land off Chilliwack River Road

Chilliwack fire crews extinguish blaze in mobile office unit

Crews from 3 halls were out in the early hours of Sunday morning to put out the fire on Railway Ave

PHOTOS: Historic look at Chilliwack activities we are missing in the pandemic

Images from the Chilliwack Museum & Archives show sporting events everyone hopes to get back to soon

VIDEO: Car goes off Highway 1 and into a ditch in Chilliwack

Eastbound vehicle left the highway ending in the ditch on south side of Luckakuck Way

Emergency crews respond to ATV rollover near Harrison

ATV rolled over on or near Harrison East Forest Service Road near Harrison Hot Springs

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

Friends, family remember victim of Langley possible triple-homicide fire at memorial

Memorial held for one the of three found dead at a house fire in Langley Meadows last month

Fraser Valley Bandits, CEBL bringing pro sports back later this month

Abbotsford-based basketball team kicks off CEBL Summer Series on July 26

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Most Read