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Coquitlam council gets update on proposal to twin natural gas pipeline

A proposal to twin a natural gas pipeline between Squamish and the Coquitlam watershed is expected to receive an environmental assessment certificate by October and could be operational by 2015, according to a FortisBC spokesperson.   - COURTESY OF FORTISBC
A proposal to twin a natural gas pipeline between Squamish and the Coquitlam watershed is expected to receive an environmental assessment certificate by October and could be operational by 2015, according to a FortisBC spokesperson.
— image credit: COURTESY OF FORTISBC

A proposal to twin a natural gas pipeline between Squamish and the Coquitlam watershed is expected to receive an environmental assessment certificate by October and could be operational by 2015, according to a FortisBC spokesperson.

James Lota, a business development manager with the natural gas company, told city council Monday that upgrades would also be necessary at the Eagle Mountain compressor station in Coquitlam.

FortisBC wants to twin its existing 52 km line between the north end of the Coquitlam watershed and a small-scale liquefied natural gas project at the Woodfibre industrial site in Squamish. The work is required, the company said, in order to improve efficiency in its pipeline system.

But city manager Peter Steblin told Lota during the meeting that as a host community, Coquitlam would be looking for co-operation with the company on an amenity project.

“We certainly are aware of the need for large infrastructure projects by a variety of entities,” Steblin said. “At the same time, we are affected as the host for these kinds of projects. We firmly believe that companies such as Fortis need to give something back to the host communities.”

Steblin noted that FortisBC will be using leased land that is designated by the city of Coquitlam as park space. He said the city would be looking for a commitment from the company to help improve the trail network in the area.

The city could also expect to see an increase in tax revenue estimated at a couple hundred thousand dollars per year, said Sheena McLeod, the city’s manager of financial services.

Several public consultations have taken place already on the proposal and Lota said changes have been made to the project as a result. For example, the expanded compressor station was initially expected to be gas-powered. Because of concerns from residents about noise and greenhouse gas emissions, he said FortisBC will now build an electric-powered facility.

“They didn’t want 40,000 horsepower drives because of noise and emissions.”

The current compressor station at Eagle Mountain produces approximately 21,000 horsepower. The project requires the addition of 35,000 horsepower, meaning two new compressors will be built.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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