Trans Mountain denies increased costs, delays after temporary halt to construction | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Trans Mountain denies increased costs, delays after temporary halt to construction

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Claims a stop work order issued by the federal government will extend completion dates and drive up construction costs on the pipeline expansion are "false," according to Trans Mountain.

The pipeline company issued a news release today, April 27, stating the compliance order applies to a specific 1,000 metre stretch along the Brunette River between Highway 1 and a CN rail line. It plans to continue with any construction in that corridor "not subject to restrictions of the order."

The federal government ordered a temporary pause to the project in the Burnaby forest recently after migratory bird nests were damaged by construction crews.

After reports of increased costs, and an extended completion date due to the four month closure of pipeline construction in Burnaby, Trans Mountain responded to say that some of the claims are "false."

The December 2022 completion date has not been affected and construction along the expansion line in other regions will continue as planned, Trans Mountain said. The company also said any claims of increased costs are "unfounded."

READ MORE: Hummingbirds delay Trans Mountain pipeline construction in B.C.

Construction prohibited by the compliance order includes tree clearing with machinery or even machetes. The order issued on April 12 and asserts that any construction that can disturb hummingbird, or any migratory bird, nesting sites must stop until August 20. This will allow the birds to remain within their nesting window of mid-April to mid-August.

The ministry was alerted by community members in early April.

“When the government is the owner as well as the regulator, it means groups like ours are imperative. Our members have confirmed eight active nests on this site, but there are hundreds, likely thousands more bird nests along the 1,500 kilometres of the pipeline route. And yet, construction continues without adequate government monitoring or protection,” Sara Ross, of the Community Nest Finding Network, said.

An affidavit submitted to the Canada Energy Regulator on Dec. 15, 2020 by Trans Mountain director of land Alan Parise claimed that tree clearing had to be completed before the hummingbird nesting window, so four creek crossings could be completed within their in-stream window.

That in-stream window falls between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15.

— With files from The Canadian Press

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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