Area P got some good news Thursday in the form of a commitment from Kinder Morgan to contribute a value of $150,000 towards the Black Pines water-system project if the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is approved.
I had urged Kinder Morgan to come to the table on this project and met with representatives of the Trans Mountain project a few weeks ago. The $150,000 represents roughly one third of what the local contribution to the project would be from users in the water system.
Of course, the pipeline plan isn’t yet approved, and the Black Pines project hasn’t been finalized either — it recently failed to receive the required number of petitions to authorize local borrowing, and an application for two-thirds of the $1.235 million cost from federal-provincial infrastructure funding is pending.
However, good interest has been shown in getting a committee together to discuss next steps and I’ll be getting a meeting together shortly.
It’s also important to note that the Memorandum of Understanding signed on Thursday would have to be formalized if the pipeline expansion goes ahead, the details of the commitment firmed up, and confirmation of how it can be applied to the funding formula for the project.
I must say I’m pleased the Black Pines project is among the communities that stand to receive contributions. The MOUs, by the way, do not include commitments of support for the Trans Mountain expansion.
Here’s the text of a press release issued Thursday after the official signing at a media event at the Hotel 540:
The number of communities represented in benefit agreements with Trans Mountain Expansion Project grew significantly this week thanks to more than $2.5 million worth of new agreements in the British Columbia interior.
The community of Valemount, Clearwater, City of Kamloops, four Electoral Areas in the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD), and Merritt have each entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), joining six others that will receive investment from Trans Mountain as a result of the Expansion Project.
As part of the Community Benefits Program, each MOU calls for Trans Mountain to make a local investment in recognition of the effects of pipeline construction or operation along the proposed route. To offset the impacts of the expansion and to provide a positive legacy, the program will fund or partially fund three priority areas of investment: community programs and infrastructure improvements, environmental stewardship, as well as education and training opportunities. The local investments are in addition to $52 million in annual property tax payments paid to pipeline corridor communities with the expanded pipeline system in operation.
Agreements now encompass the majority of pipeline construction communities along the corridor from Strathcona County, Alberta to Hope, BC with a total value of $4.6 million, representing close to 1,000 kilometres of the pipeline. Agreements were previously announced with Barriere and Hope in BC, as well as Strathcona County, Stony Plain, Edson, and Hinton, in Alberta.
“We value our relationships with the communities we have operated in for more than 60 years, and recognize the communities along the proposed corridor affected by expansion construction should see direct benefits,” Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said. “Our progress is significant. We’re ensuring the communities along our pipeline corridor receive investments to support important local projects. That’s in addition to landowner compensation, and the economic activity and regional employment our Project will generate during construction and subsequent operation.”
All agreements take effect with approval of the Expansion Project, which is in the midst of a National Energy Board review scheduled to conclude in October 2015, with possible approval in spring 2016. Other agreements are anticipated in the coming months as Project planning continues.
Most Recent Agreements:
Valemount — $185,000 for municipal infrastructure, recreation and education.
Clearwater — $390,000 for community benefits, municipal infrastructure, recreation and education.
Thompson Nicola Regional District – Total investment of $845,000 in 4 Electoral Areas:
$175,000 to Vavenby, Birch Island and Black Pool for community parks
$350,000 to Blue River and Avola for parks, trails and education
$170,000 to Little Fort for road upgrades and landscaping
$150,000 to Black Pines for drinking water infrastructure
Kamloops — $700,000 for community projects.
Merritt — $420,000 for community infrastructure.