Kinder Morgan announces agreements with North Thompson communities

District of Barriere to receive $290,000 toward upgrading bike and pedestrian trails.

District of Clearwater is to receive $390,000 for community benefits, municipal infrastructure, recreation and education through a memorandum of understanding with Transmountain Pipeline announced on Thursday.

Total investment for the four TNRD electoral areas in the North Thompson will be $845,000:

• Blue River and Avola are to get $350,000 for parks, trails and education through Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

• Another $175,000 will go to Vavenby, Birch Island and Blackpool for community parks, also through TNRD.

• Little Fort is getting $170,000 for road upgrades and landscaping, while $150,000 is going to Black Pines for drinking water infrastructure.

Also in the MOU’s announced on Thursday, Kamloops will receive $700,000 for community projects, while Valemount is to get $185,000 for municipal infrastructure, recreation and education.

Under an earlier agreement, District of Barriere will receive a $290,000 contribution toward upgrading bike and pedestrian trails.

As part of the Community Benefits Program, each MOU calls for Trans Mountain to make a local investment in recognition of the effects of pipeline construction or operation along the proposed route. To offset the impacts of the expansion and to provide a positive legacy, the program will fund or partially fund three priority areas of investment: community programs and infrastructure improvements, environmental stewardship, as well as education and training opportunities. The local investments are in addition to $52 million in annual property tax payments paid to pipeline corridor communities with the expanded pipeline system in operation.

Agreements now encompass the majority of pipeline construction communities along the corridor from Strathcona County, Alberta to Hope, B.C. with a total value of $4.6 million, representing close to 1,000 km of the pipeline.

“We value our relationships with the communities we have operated in for more than 60 years, and recognize the communities along the proposed corridor affected by expansion construction should see direct benefits,” Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said. “Our progress is significant. We’re ensuring the communities along our pipeline corridor receive investments to support important local projects. That’s in addition to landowner compensation, and the economic activity and regional employment our project will generate during construction and subsequent operation.”

All agreements take effect with approval of the Expansion Project, which is in the midst of a National Energy Board review scheduled to conclude in October, 2015, with possible approval in spring, 2016. Other agreements are anticipated in the coming months as project planning continues.