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Trans Mountain puts contractors on notice to prepare for pipeline restart

Last Updated Aug 22, 2019 at 7:23 am MDT

Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline are unloaded in Edson, Alta. on June 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Trans Mountain Corp. has advised construction contractors to get ready for the restart of its pipeline expansion project to the west coast.

Trans Mountain says its directive gives contractors 30 days to ready equipment, start hiring workers, secure goods and services and develop detailed plans.

The company says work is to begin soon in communities along the right of way between Edmonton and Edson, Alta., and in the greater Edmonton area.

Work is also to resume at the terminal in Burnaby, B.C., which is the endpoint for the pipeline that is to carry oil from Alberta to the coast for shipment to overseas markets.

Trans Mountain says specific start dates in the remaining construction areas are subject to final regulatory approvals and permits.

In a statement, Mayor Don Scott said the decision to restart Trans Mountain is encouraging news.

However, he added the region also requires new infrastructure to benefit Wood Buffalo, Alberta, and the rest of Canada.

“It is definitely another positive move in the right direction for our region. We look forward to construction getting underway so we can continue to strengthen a region that delivers incredible social and economic prosperity to the entire country.”

Going forward

The federal government gave a second go-ahead to the expansion project in June after the courts overturned the original approval.

The Liberal government spent $4.5 billion to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada in 2018 in a bid to get the existing pipeline expanded despite significant political opposition in British Columbia.

That plan was put on hold last August when the Federal Court of Appeal said the government had not done a good enough job consulting with Indigenous communities or studying the impact on marine life.

Six British Columbia First Nations and at least two environmental groups have filed new court challenges.

“We are confident that we have a path forward by which the expansion project construction can commence,” Said Ian Anderson, President and CEO of Trans Mountain Corp.

According to the Trans Mountain website, if approvals are received as anticipated, the expansion will be in service by mid-2022.

*With file from the Canadian Press