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Pushback in B.C. as Trans Mountain pipeline expansion hearings start

The Trans Mountain Pipeline (Courtesy: transmountain.com)

National Energy Board hearings are set to start Monday in British Columbia on the detailed route of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion which would run through North Surrey, Coquitlam and Burnaby.

The federal government approved the pipeline in November 2016 along a 150 metre corridor and the hearings will help determine the route within that corridor.

But there is still a lot of local pushback.

Municipalities and residents in Metro Vancouver are set to argue the proposed route would damage the environment and adversely impact homeowners.

There have already been a number of protests and Mike Lloyd with NEWS 1130 in Vancouver said that will continue.

“People setting up protest camps along some of these areas where the survey work has been done, some of the early survey work they’re doing before finalizing these routes and getting them through to the tank farms and the areas here in the coast,” he explained.

Burnaby is a major opponent of the project and will present for three days during the hearings, but Lloyd said lines have been drawn within communities as well.

“When you look at it a little more regionally, there is a lot of support for the expansion of the pipeline, but it certainly has been a contentious issue for many people still and that’s what we’ve seen with these protest camps,” he said.

Spokeswoman Ali Hounsell said the company tried to route the new line along the old line where possible, but in some areas, urbanization made that difficult.

She added they’re committed to replanting trees and minimizing the impact of construction on sensitive areas.

The existing Trans Mountain line has carried oil from Alberta to B.C. since 1953.

The hearings wrap January 31 before a second set of hearings is held in March.