Vancouver, environmental groups conduct oil spill simulation on Fraser River, Burrard Inlet (VIDEO)
At the same time as Kinder Morgan begins its surveying work on Burnaby Mountain, the City of Vancouver is holding a pipeline spill simulation on the Fraser River, releasing yellow cards into the tide to estimate the reach of a potential oil spill.
Vancouver is holding the simulation in cooperation with the Rainforest Conservation Foundation and the Georgia Strait Alliance, on both the Fraser and Burrard Inlet.
"What we'll be doing is taking these cards, little pieces of plywood with a number on them," said Andy Rosenberger of the Rainforest Conservation Foundation, heading downstream of the Port Mann Bridge. "We take them and we put them into the river. Eventually, they will wash up on shore."
The yellow cards are biodegradable and carry with them messages, allowing those who find them to enter their location on the test's interactive Salish Sea Spill Map.
According to the map, there will be nine drop locations by the conclusion of its simulation, from as north as West Vancouver to Burnaby in the east and the San Juan Islands in the southwest, near Vancouver Island.
"Every single card has a distinct identification number that we can track," said Ross Dixon of the Rainforest Conservation Foundation. "We track the exact location of where the cards end up, so we have an indication of the potential spatial extent of an oil spill from a spill affecting this area, of the Fraser River."
The map below shows the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion's planned route (TransMountain.com).
Carey Johannesson, a project lead for the Trans Mountain pipeline, told the Burnaby NewsLeader on Wednesday that the route through Burnaby Mountain is the final piece that still needs to be assessed to satisfy the National Energy Board.
"When you do a project of this nature, you know there's going to be all kinds of different opinions about the project," Johannesson said. "We're looking at it from the perspective that it's a national project. There's going to be a full opportunity for people, including the City of Burnaby, to make presentations and to provide information to the board."
At the site of the simulation, the George Strait Alliance's Alexandra Woodsworth reiterated her group's concern for the pipeline and for what a spill would do to the water in and around Vancouver and B.C.
"There is no cure once the oil hits the water," she said. "We're looking at 15, 20, 30 per cent recovery rates. In these kind of high-consequence events, we are looking at real devastation to our marine environment and also to our economy. When we have such reliance on our beautiful B.C. brand, on tourism, on recreation, all those kinds of things.
"These are the reasons British Columbians choose to live here and work here and it's the reason people choose to visit, is that beauty and that natural abundance that we have here, that would really be at risk by an oil spill."