A Black Pines resident wants compensation as a result of twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which goes through his front yard.
Jeff Lodge told KTW he bought property in the area north of Kamloops in 2016. However, he said undisclosed and unbeknownst to him, $21,000 in compensation had already been committed to the previous homeowner, who cashed in before selling the property.
“We knew a pipeline was going through, but we didn’t really know the process, right?” Lodge said.
“After we were in there for a year, the pipeline people came through and basically informed us that the contract had previously been signed by the previous homeowner and it wasn’t disclosed to us.
“So, she got all the money and we got all the problems.”
With construction to twin the pipeline set to begin in the Kamloops area in the spring of 2020, Lodge said work on his property will mean the loss of trees in his front yard and a portion of his land remaining unusable for future construction of buildings.
Lodge said he couldn’t speak for the previous property owner, but noted the contract was never disclosed.
Information came through the realtor, he said, who he believes was sincere, but did not fully understand the process.
“I don’t blame Trans Mountain,” Lodge said. “They had a legal contract with the previous owner. It’s just that I found that I got screwed over, I guess, by those people not disclosing the situation. We did go to a lawyer and they said you-should-have-known-better type thing. But if you don’t know, how do you know better?”
In an emailed statement to KTW, Trans Mountain confirmed Lodge’s story, but maintains the rights would have been registered on the land title after the agreement was reached.
Furthermore, Trans Mountain said, it is working to address “construction-related impacts in an effort to mitigate any identified concerns.”
Compensation for land rights and construction impacts are handled differently. The company provides compensation for land rights to the landowner at the time the agreement is signed, Trans Mountain said, while compensation related to construction impact mitigation goes to the current landowner.
It is unclear how much money Lodge may receive, if anything.
On Tuesday night, Lodge took the issue to the Canada Energy Regulator, which was at the Delta Kamloops Hotel downtown, meeting with residents impacted by impending construction.
The Canada Energy Regulator was formerly known as the National Energy Board.
Though he supports the pipeline-expansion project, Lodge wants to be compensated for the deal struck before he moved in.
“I want what’s right,” Lodge said. “If it was a dollar, I would want it because it’s the right thing. I can’t retire because of $21,000, but it’s something and I just think it’s right, that’s all.”
It is unclear if other residents are in the same situation as Lodge.
Kamloops Coun. Arjun Singh attended the meeting.
He said about 20 people were on hand, with the pipeline route of interest to homeowners in Westsyde and Black Pines. The pipeline route is being rerouted through Lac Du Bois in an attempt to avoid residential neighbourhoods.
Singh said the pipeline continues to be “very controversial,” but added most people in the city are in favour of the expansion.
The Ministry of Agriculture was also on hand. Agrologist Jim Forbes told KTW he wanted to make contacts, should farmers have concerns when construction occurs.
He said he has not yet heard from residents.
The regulator also met with city council on Tuesday, explaining its role in pipeline lifecycles.
Upon attending Tuesday night’s meeting between the regulator and residents, KTW was barred from entering and advised to call a media relations hotline and wait outside to speak with people.
When asked why media were barred from covering a public meeting on the pipeline expansion, communications officer Chantal Macleod replied: “These information sessions were by invitation to those living or working near the Trans Mountain pipeline so they had an opportunity to meet with CER staff to answer any questions they had regarding the CER’s role in the regulatory process, and what we do to protect people and the environment along federally regulated pipelines and power lines.
“The CER engages with individuals affected and potentially affected by regulated energy projects in a variety of ways and forums, including in-person information sessions that can be public or targeted to specific audiences.
“The public is always welcome to contact the CER’s Process Advisors if they have questions regarding a proceeding, whether they are participating directly or could be indirectly affected.”