Tell Chilliwack City Hall to Stand Up for Public Safety
Trans Mountain Expansion Project Route across Chilliwack
is Not an Optimal Route, but an Historical Accident
When the old Trans Mountain pipeline was built in 1952-53 as a 150,000 barrel per day pipeline, Chilliwack was a very different place. The water supply was from Elk, Dunville, and Nevin Creeks on the hillsides. Vedder Middle School and Watson Elementary School didn't exist. Fields spanned what are now urban areas. The Trans Canada Highway didn't officially open until 1962 (Port Mann Bridge 1964).
Since then throughput on the pipeline has been increased to 300,000 barrels per day, the city has grown up around it, and our water supply comes from wells in the Sardis Vedder Aquifer -- the 'Protected Groundwater Zone' that the pipeline unfortunately lies right across.
Now Trans Mountain want to increase pressure on the 66 year old pipeline again -- to 350,000 barrels per day -- and add another pipeline carrying 540,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day through our community. The pipelines would be less than 10 metres from homes, cross Vedder Middle and Watson Elementary Schools, pass by 4 city drinking water wells, and run through salmon habitat enhancement areas and wetlands as it crosses Vedder River upstream of Yarrow Waterworks wells and the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve before running through Yarrow along the Vedder Mountain Fault.
A Safer Route Is Possible!
The pipeline follows Highway 1 from Hope to Chilliwack and returns to Highway 1 where Trans Mountain have a pump station on McDermott Road in Abbotsford. If they dig their new trench to follow Highway 1 between those points, schools, residential areas, community wells, and vital ecological areas would be avoided. Access to the pipelines along the highway would also be easier and faster for future maintenance or emergency response.
In many other communities such as Edmonton, Langley, Surrey, Coquitlam, and Burnaby, the new pipeline is taking a new route to avoid developed areas. Across Chilliwack the 66 year old pipeline could also be decommissioned and replaced in the new trench, as is being done in the Burnaby Mountain area where they're boring a tunnel through the mountain to move the pipelines out of residential areas.
Before the last election and before the Federal Court of Appeal paused the pipeline project, the City of Chilliwack filed a statement of opposition with the National Energy Board saying "The City categorically opposes the routing of the project through lands proximate to the Aquifer. The Project must be routed away from the City's drinking water source". More recently the Chilliwack Board of Education wrote the NEB saying "The placement of a pipeline carrying diluted bitumen or other petroleum products on school grounds is an unnecessary and unreasonable risk".
WaterWealth has been advocating a safer route for the pipeline across Chilliwack since 2015. Politicians in senior levels of government have failed to act. Now we have one last chance to move the Trans Mountain pipeline to a safer route through the restarting NEB detailed route hearings.
Please tell Chilliwack Mayor and Council to stand up for public safety by following through on the route hearing they started, consistent with their original statement of opposition. The Project must be routed away from the City's drinking water source! A route following Highway 1 does that and more.
Fill in the form on this page and click "Start Writing" to go to a sample letter to Mayor and Council that you can send as is or edit to your liking.