Environmentalists, First Nations groups, and Langley Township will take their issues with the planned Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to public meetings later this month.
The Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) Ministerial Panel will meet with local groups in Abbotsford on July 26, then in Langley on the 27 and 28.
Local environmentalists are worried the relatively brief meetings won’t leave them much time to state their case against the controversial oil pipeline project.
“They’re giving us two to three minutes to talk,” said Annabel Young of the Salmon River Enhancement Society.
“Is it just ticking the boxes?” she said of the meetings, which were instituted by the Justin Trudeau government.
When Young emailed to ask about some concerns, she received an email back saying that the meetings would be “for open dialogue and discussion of salient issues.”
No serious preparation is expected of the participants, it said.
Nonetheless, Langley Township staffers are preparing.
Director of operations Roeland Zwaag is heading to the July 28 meeting to bring up the Township’s ongoing issues.
“They inadequately addressed our concerns,” said Zwaag of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain project.
“There’s no doubt there are cost implications for local government,” said Zwaag.
Because the existing pipeline will remain in place, while the new, expanded pipeline will take a different route, Zwaag said the Township will incur a lot of new expenses.
A study by the Township, Surrey, Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Abbotsford, found that over 50 years, it would cost the Township an additional $12.8 million.
It would cost about $93 million over all of those communities.
Everything from ditch cleaning to water pipeline installation to road work will require extra work if near or over the new pipeline.
The National Energy Board has already given its approval to the pipeline project.