The Canada Energy Regulator has green-lighted the replacement of a pipeline between the Burnaby Mountain and Westridge Marine terminals, saying the project is “in the public interest.”
CER made the announcement on Friday, which allows Trans Mountain to replace the existing Westridge Delivery Line between the terminals with a new line that will occupy part of a tunnel as two other pipelines that are part of the Trans Mountain expansion project.
“Temporary physical disturbance caused by construction of the new delivery line is anticipated only at the proposed entry and exit points for the tunnel, both of which are within … fence lines of Trans Mountain-owned, industrial-zoned land,” CER said in a news release.
“Once the new delivery line is operational, the CER expects Trans Mountain to file an application to decommission the existing delivery line.”
The new line, which won’t increase transport capacity, will run 3.6 kilometres through Burnaby Mountain, replacing the current line, which runs through a residential area.
Kinder Morgan, the original owner of the pipeline before it was bought by the federal government, made the application for the replacement in December 2017, and it was met with challenges from the City of Burnaby and the Squamish Nation.
The CER – previously the National Energy Board – made its decision specifically regarding the Westridge Delivery Line relocation as a separate from the larger Trans Mountain expansion issue.
The CER made its decision based on 10 factors, including the need for the project, its economic feasibility, potential commercial impacts, potential environmental and socio-economic effects, appropriateness of the route, suitability of the design, potential impacts on Indigenous interests and other issues.
With the project approved, the CER said it anticipates tunnelling work will begin in fall or winter this year and take upwards of two years to complete.
The energy regulator had previously determined the Burnaby Mountain route was “the preferable route because it avoids residential areas and urban infrastructure, reduces environmental effects during construction and operation, and minimizes risk during operation.”