The Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s board of directors has voted overwhelmingly in support of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline running through Kamloops — after being called on to support the project by Sun Peaks mayor Al Raine.
It was seen as an unlikely turn of events — while the pipeline runs through many nearby communities — Sun Peaks will not be directly affected by the proposal to create a “twinned” second pipeline running alongside the original line between Edmonton to Burnaby.
But Raine said the overall safety of the project prompted him to step forward.
“I think fossil fuels are going to be here for a few more years. I don’t see that changing in the next 15 to 20 years,” he said. “And these fuels are going to be transported through this corridor.
“I’ve been noticing over the past few months how many trains are transporting oil. If one was to go off the rails in the Fraser Canyon and dump oil into the river it would be an environmental disaster.”
Raine said many of his colleagues in Vancouver had been “outspoken” against the twinned pipeline.
“Mostly, they’re concerned about the transportation of oil by tanker through the harbour,” he said.
“If a pipeline doesn’t happen, oil will still be transported through this area in a potentially dangerous manner.”
Another important consideration for Raine was that the current pipeline was already proven to be a safe and effective method of transporting the oil.
“A pipeline already exists, and a twinned pipeline would certainly have more people monitoring it than the single pipeline we have today.”
Raine said Sun Peaks was in an appropriate position to take the lead in asking the TNRD to consider the issue, as the community had no financial stake in the project.
“All the communities along the pipeline route have signed a benefit agreement with the pipeline company, where they’ll receive financial support in exchange for the pipeline.
“I thought it was important to bring it forward, because we don’t have any financial conflict.”
Mel Rothenburger, Director of Electoral Area P (Rivers and the Peaks), recused himself from the vote as the pipeline will pass through his property.
For more on the Trans Mountain Pipeline, click here.