TransCanada holds open house in Smithers

Smithers council heard a delegation last week regarding TransCanada’s Coastal Gaslink Pipeline.

Smithers council heard a delegation last week regarding TransCanada’s Coastal Gaslink Pipeline.

TransCanada is travelling through the northwest holding public consultations about their proposed natural gas pipeline, hoping to gain public support in the early planning stages of the project.

“The format we use for the open houses is pretty informal,” Howard Backus, engineering manager of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project said.

“It gives us a chance to explain a little bit more about the project and it gives the public a chance to ask us questions about the project.

“Through that we can gather some good feedback and use that to develop our project moving forward.”

Although the public information session was poorly attended, Backus wasn’t concerned noting interest for the project varies from one community to the next.

Backus added, the objective of the night was just to update council on the status of the project.

The Gaslink pipeline is just one of many proposed pipelines to cross the northwest corridor to the central coast of B.C.

Like other proposed pipelines it has the tendency to cause skepticism among communities along the route, which prompted Mayor Taylor Bachrach to ask the delegation about their approach to obtaining social license from communities that will be affected by the pipeline.

Although it’s still in the very early stages of development, Bachrach said he appreciated TransCanada engaging the community this early in the process.

“I think people in general are a bit apprehensive about pipeline proposals,” Bachrach said.

“This one is in the early stages of project development and planning.

“Really it comes down to whether they’re able to meet the requirements of the government assessment process and whether they’re able to obtain social license from communities and first nations.

“That requires a greater level of detail then what we’ve received so far.”