Trans Mountain Pipeline charged for damaging archaeological site | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops News

Trans Mountain Pipeline charged for damaging archaeological site

FILE PHOTO - Construction Work on Trans Mountain Pipeline outside of Valemount, B.C.
Image Credit: FLICKR/Adam Jones

Trans Mountain Pipeline is facing criminal charges for damaging a heritage site along its construction path.

It's not clear exactly where the heritage site is, but court documents claim it to be somewhere near Kamloops.

Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC is facing one charge for damaging a site with artifacts or evidence of human habitation before 1846, according to court documents. The offence was sometime between July 7 and Aug. 25, 2021.

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Lawyers for the pipeline company were in Kamloops Provincial Court for a first appearance Monday, Nov. 21, a month after the charges were first approved by Crown prosecutors.

A blog post on the company website says it has worked with archaeologists and Indigenous communities to study all potential heritage sites along the expansion path. It then plans its construction, in part, based on those studies.

"This planning includes avoidance wherever possible, and where not possible, work with Archaeology Branches in B.C. and Alberta to obtain all required permits and authorizations. We are aware of archaeological sites across our expansion project and have assessed all areas to implement appropriate mitigation measures for construction," the post from March 2022 reads.

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The offence hasn't been proven in court, but if Trans Mountain is found guilty, the company could face a fine as high as $1 million, according to the Heritage Act.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from Edmonton to Burnaby mostly travels along Highway 5. From Valemount, its path is south through to Kamloops, then Merritt where it continues along the Coquihalla to Hope. The controversial project has been delayed several times as it's now projected to be completed in the third quarter of 2023.

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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