Mayor's Report - February 2014


Belcarra's Application for N.E.B. Intervenor Status

Mayor Ralph Drew

At its January 13th meeting, Council passed the following resolution regarding Kinder Morgan Canada's TransMountain Expansion Project:

"THAT the Village of Belcarra apply for intervenor status in the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) application to state that, given the increased risks associated with the TMEP and the seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic from the Westridge Marine Terminal (WMT) on Burrard Inlet, Belcarra believes that the TMEP does not warrant approval by the NEB. Reasons include the following:

1. The expansion of the pipeline through the Metro Vancouver region and associated increases in tanker traffic pose an unacceptable risk to residents and businesses including, but not limited to, risks to the region's vibrant economy, local environment and parks, infrastructure, financial and legal liability, and public health.

2. The expansion of the Westridge Marine Terminal (WMT) on Burrard Inlet and associated seven-fold increase in tanker traffic pose an unacceptable increase in noise and light disturbance to the residents living in Belcarra, Burnaby, and the District of North Vancouver."

The NEB has identified 12 issues that it will consider in deciding whether an applicant qualifies for intervenor status, of which Belcarra has focussed on issues 5, 8, 11 and 12:

  1. The need for the proposed project.
  2. The economic feasibility of the proposed project.
  3. The potential commercial impacts of the proposed project.
  4. The potential environmental and socio-economic effects of the proposed project, including any cumulative environmental effects that are likely to result from the project, including those required to be considered by the NEB's 'Filing Manual'.
  5. The potential environmental and socio-economic effects of marine shipping activities that would result from the proposed Project, including the potential effects of accidents or malfunctions that may occur.
  6. The appropriateness of the general route and land requirements for the proposed project.
  7. The suitability of the design of the proposed project.
  8. The terms and conditions to be included in any approval the Board may issue.
  9. Potential impacts of the project on Aboriginal interests.
  10. Potential impacts of the project on landowners and land use.
  11. Contingency planning for spills, accidents or malfunctions, during construction and operation of the project.
  12. Safety and security during construction of the proposed project and operation of the project, including emergency response planning and third-party damage prevention.

In order to be considered by the NEB, the application had to clearly demonstrate the applicant's interest and connection to the project, and clearly demonstrate the issues the applicant plans to address are relevant to the 'List of Issues' (as noted above). In addition, the maximum 500-word commentary for the NEB application had to demonstrate that either the applicant was directly impacted by the project or the applicant possessed recognised expertise regarding the issue(s) being addressed. The commentary included as part of the NEB application states that "the Village of Belcarra ('Belcarra') has the following specific detailed and direct interests in the project:"

"Belcarra residential neighbourhoods are geographically situated on Central Burrard Inlet within three (3) km, directly north of the Westridge Marine Terminal ('WMT') tanker loading facility also located on Central Burrard Inlet. Belcarra residents were impacted by the 2007 oil spill from the rupture of the TransMountain Pipeline that caused crude oil to enter the waters of Central Burrard Inlet adjacent to the WMT. Given the inadequate response from the applicant to concerns raised by Belcarra, and given the increased risks associated with an expanded WMT, Belcarra believes that the application does not warrant approval by the NEB."

"Should this project be approved, the increased noise and light pollution associated with an expanded WMT loading facility and proposed increase in tanker shipments from one-per-week to one-per-day –– a seven-fold increase in tanker loadings –– would negatively impact the quality of life for Belcarra's property owners, and therefore property values. A reduction in property values would have negative financial impacts for both Belcarra and Belcarra property owners. Belcarra seeks assurance the applicant will utilize appropriate 'environmental design' measures for an expanded WMT to minimize and/or mitigate the bright lights and noise from both the WMT facility and the vessels loading at dockside. Belcarra also seeks assurance the applicant will require all client vessels –– some of which will be owned or chartered by the applicant –– to implement measures to mitigate noise and light pollution while waiting to be loaded at the WMT."

"Property owned by Belcarra and property owned by Belcarra residents may incur asset and/or property damage and/or loss of property value if an oil spill should occur in Central Burrard Inlet as a result of tankers being loaded at the WMT. Belcarra seeks assurance that the applicant will install and use appropriate open-water oil spill containment booms around all tankers berthed at the WMT that will be capable of effectively performing in at least 5-foot waves due to the wind, current, wave and vessel wake conditions known to occur on Central Burrard Inlet waters."

"Belcarra seeks assurance the applicant will develop a site-specific oil spill Emergency Response Plan ('ERP') for Central Burrard Inlet based on a strategy of 'rapid response and containment' within a one-hour timeframe utilizing pre-deployed oil containment booms and 'best available technology' to minimize the consequent socio-economic and environmental impacts. Belcarra also seeks assurance the applicant will require all ERP contractors that the applicant may use, including the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation ('WCMRC'), to develop and publicly demonstrate through regular training exercises an on-going capability to implement the site-specific ERP that is developed for Central Burrard Inlet."

"Belcarra seeks assurance that the Canadian Coast Guard will have a British Columbia center that is adequately resourced to provide the oversight and auditing capability necessary to ensure that the applicant and WCMRC develop and maintain the above described site-specific ERP for Central Burrard Inlet."

Belcarra submitted its application to the NEB by the deadline of February 12th, 2014; however, we will have to wait until the end of March before we know whether or not the application is accepted.

RALPH DREW
MAYOR


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Village of Belcarra
4084 Bedwell Bay Road
Belcarra, BCCANADA
V3H 4P8

E-mail: belcarra@belcarra.ca
Tel: (604) 937-4100
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