July 19, 2016 - 2:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Kamloops and area citizens are having their say as hearings began today on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.
Some of the loudest criticism at the panel hearings at Thompson Rivers University this morning, July 19, focused on how the hearings were advertised to the public.
“This is not a public consultation, you have to do this over,” Kamloops resident Lawrence Barichello told the panel. “Don’t go away from here and say you’ve consulted us.”
The same sentiment was shared by other speakers.
The federally-appointed three person panel is in Kamloops today and tomorrow to hear from groups and individuals on the controversial pipeline expansion which will run through the city.
Kamloops Coun. Donovan Cavers was on hand to speak as well.
While he brought up environmental issues, including climate change, the lack of notification was an issue for him as well. The morning session targeted local government, but Cavers says he only found out about the meeting in the last couple of days and he hadn't been invited. He was the only elected city official on hand.
“One of my major concerns was the promotion of the session today,” Cavers says. “There’s obviously a lot of other communities in our area and I don’t see representatives of their municipalities.”
The panel has one more day in Kamloops before moving to the Lower Mainland and Victoria.
“From what I understand the Ministry of Natural Resources is putting more resources to advertise the panel schedule,” panel spokesperson Kim Baird says. “We’ll consider whether we have to reconvene in certain areas if people feel like they did not have an adequate opportunity.”
Two City of Kamloops staff members were on hand to take notes, listen to concerns from residents and bring up some technical concerns to the panel. Streets and environmental services manager Glen Farrow says if the project moves forward construction will have a direct impact on some areas and could have a less direct impact on the city with green house gases and air quality.
“The city still hasn’t taken a stance one way or another,” Farrow says. “What we have brought forward within this project are a lot of road crossings and utility crossings.”
There are two options for the route the proposed pipeline would take through Kamloops. One option would see the pipeline run through the Lac du Bois grasslands and the other possiblity is through Westsyde. The city prefers the Lac du Bois route.
“If it were to go through Westsyde the impact to residents and city infrastructure would be significant,” he says.
The panel continued to take submissions this afternoon and reconvenes tomorrow at the Irving K. Barber Centre at Thompson Rivers University. It is open to the public with three sessions between 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The pipeline received conditional approval from the National Energy Board in May.
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