Walsh preps for Kamloops council debate on pipeline relocation request

Coun. Denis Walsh hopes research he compiled over the holidays will convince council colleagues they should be concerned about a safety risk to Westsyde residents

Will crickets emerge during the first council meeting of 2020?

A Kamloops councillor is hoping for support from colleagues next Tuesday.

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Denis Walsh has filed a notice of motion, which will be debated next week, calling for the existing Trans Mountain pipeline to be relocated from residential areas in Westsyde and placed next to the twinned line that will run in the Lac du Bois area above the neighbourhood.

Walsh wants council to lobby the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) to order Trans Mountain Corporation to move its existing pipeline in Westsyde to Lac du Bois, citing his concern about residents’ safety and city liability.

However, Walsh added, some councillors have told him the action is not within their mandate.

“I want us as a council to just make a statement to send to the CER outlining our concerns and we feel that it should be rerouted,” Walsh said.

“Then, it’s out of our hands. We’ve washed our hands of, I think, any liability. … I don’t agree with the position that it’s not in our mandate.”

Councillor Dieter Dudy, who lives in Westsyde, said he has not heard concerns from residents in the area.

He noted the pipeline has been in the ground for more than 60 years.

At some point, he said, “we have to take TMX at its word. It’s in their best interest to make sure that nothing goes wrong.”

Nonetheless, Dudy said, he will keep an open mind and listen to debate on the issue on Tuesday.

Without a seconder to move the notice of motion to the floor, however, that debate may not occur — something that concerns Walsh.

Dudy would not commit to seconding the notice of motion to allow that debate.

“I’m sure somebody’s going to second it,” he said.

The Westsyde Community Development Society is also tiptoeing around the issue.

President Diane Kuchma told KTW the society is not taking a political stance on the Trans Mountain pipeline, wishing instead to remain neutral.

However, she added, members have personally brought up the issue and the society is watching with interest whattranspires on Tuesday.

“It wouldn’t hurt if Trans Mountain came to the community and addressed the issue,” Kuchma said.

Walsh hopes research he compiled over the holidays will convince council colleagues they should be concerned about a safety risk to Westsyde residents.

“We’ll have to see what happens,” he said.

Walsh’s research includes examples of spills along the pipeline in other areas of B.C., including documentation that lists 81 such incidents between Edmonton and Burnaby between 1961 and 2013.

Those spills had numerous causes — faulty welds and other construction defects, human error and forces of nature.

© Kamloops This Week


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