Construction going ahead at Burnaby Trans Mountain sites

Company has filed its plans for the next six months

The once-stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is set to restart and barrel ahead through Alberta and B.C. to its Burnaby terminus.

The planned twinning of the pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby was put on hold in April Kinder Morgan, which blamed B.C. Premier John Horgan’s legal challenges. In late May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government’s plan to purchase the existing pipeline and take over the expansion project.

“Since the federal government’s announcement at the end of May 2018, we have been moving forward with construction planning and working to update our construction schedule,” a Trans Mountain spokesperson said in an email.

On Tuesday, Trans Mountain filed its construction schedule for the next six months with the National Energy Board (NEB). It sets out work plans at the two main facilities in Burnaby: the tank farm on Burnaby Mountain and the Westridge Marine Terminal on Burrard Inlet.

Construction at the Westridge terminal has been ongoing since September. The company did not stop pile driving to create new oil tanker berths when it suspended “non-essential” work on the expansion project in April.

“Essential work continued and, where it made sense to move forward on a cost effective basis with a process that was already underway, that work continued,” the spokesperson said.

But that work repeatedly broke noise limits set by the federal government and may have risked harming marine animals in January through March this year, according to a leaked letter from the Federal Fisheries and Oceans Department.

The company plans to start work on a tunnel portal on Burnaby Mountain this month while it starts preparing its tank farm site for expansion.

In late June, the NEB approved modified plans to reconfigure tanks on Burnaby Mountain in a bid to make them safer and reduce the chance of a fire. 

The City of Burnaby had asked Trans Mountain to submit a fire evacuation plan for  people living and working on the mountain before the approval was given. The NEB, hoevwer, said the plan doesn’t need to be submitted until six month before the pipeline becomes operational.

Workers will erect fences and modify existing facilities at the tank farm beginning this month before construction of the new tanks start in mid-November, according to Trans Mountain.

Trans Mountain’s six month plan also includes setting up work camps in the North Thompson region and stockpile sites in Valemount, Blue River, Clearwater, Merritt and Hope.

Burnaby Now