Rothenburger calls for Kinder Morgan to help pay for water upgrade

Kinder Morgan should ante up for a major contribution toward the cost of a $1.3 million upgrade to the TNRD’s Black Pines water system, says Area P candidate Mel Rothenburger.

The Black Pines project, which results from earlier failures of the community’s water system, is expected to go to a petition early next year for a decision by residents.

Rothenburger said Kinder Morgan is proposing a dramatic change to its route through the Whispering Pines and Black Pines communities that could have a major impact on many properties and likely conflict with construction of the new water intake and treatment system.

The pipeline expansion project is in front of the National Energy Board awaiting approval.

“Kinder Morgan needs to come to a community meeting to explain its proposed changes and to discuss the potential for the company assisting in the water project,” Rothenburger said.

“It needs to commit to helping lower the cost of the water project to residents, who are facing a $10,000-plus bill for each home on the system even if federal-provincial infrastructure money is available.”

He noted a memorandum of understanding between Kinder Morgan and the District of Barriere was announced Thursday in which the company would provide $290,000 in benefits to the municipality, which supports the expansion.

“Whether in-kind or direct funding, Kinder Morgan could bring down the cost to Black Pines residents by thousands of dollars, reducing their financial hardship.”

Rothenburger said he discussed the matter with Kinder Morgan on Thursday and the company appears receptive both to a community meeting and to exploring the potential for in-kind participation in the Black Pines water project.

He said if he’s elected in the Nov. 15 election, he’ll push for a community meeting —including both Black Pines and Whispering Pines residents — with Kinder Morgan hosted by the TNRD within the next few weeks, and will lobby for the company’s commitment to bringing down the cost of the water system to residents if the water project is approved and if the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion goes ahead.

Rothenburger is a Black Pines resident whose home is outside the boundaries of the water system.

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