Coalition invites public to attend TransCanada Pipeline open houseTuesday, August 27, 2013 by: Kate Adams
North Bay’s Coalition of Concerned Citizens
North Bay’s Coalition of Concerned Citizens are inviting people to attend TransCanada Pipeline’s “open house” on Tuesday August 27th to hear for themselves the proposed pipeline conversion announced to transport diluted bitumen from the oil sands to the East Coast, on a route that goes through North Bay’s municipal water source at Trout Lake.
The open house is at the West Ferris Community Centre between 4 to 8PM, and is actually TransCanada’s community consultation. Feedback and concerns gathered from this will be noted in their application to federal regulators. "It is important that people come to meet with us because that is part of the regulatory process," explained TransCanada spokesperson Philippe Cannon.
TransCanada’s "Energy East Pipeline" would carry up to 1.1 million barrels per day (larger than the contested Keystone XL) through our communities; primarily for foreign export (as Ontario's Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli noted last week). Rather than invest in a new pipeline built to modern standards, TransCanada chooses to convert the existing Natural Gas mainline that has serviced our communities for over a generation. Natural Gas suppliers in Ontario have come forward saying this pipeline conversion will affect their supply to consumers and ultimately raise the price. This pipeline was built to transport a very different product and in the 55 year history of this gas mainline there have already been several significant incidents here in Northern Ontario. Many are concerned these incidents will increase as an old pipeline begins use for something other than what was originally intended.
Locally, the pipeline route comes down through Temagami and enters North Bay from the North. The pipeline then heads through the city and across the Laurentian Escarpment on the North side of Trout Lake. The escarpment of course has steep slopes and many quick flowing creeks that flow directly into Trout Lake, which supplies the municipal drinking water for 54,000 people. In North Bay, strong awareness has been building about the threat this would pose to the Trout Lake Drainage Basin. The pipeline then crosses Trout Lake at “The Narrows” before heading East along the south side of the Mattawa River.
Mandated with protecting our drinking water source, the North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) should be familiar with the sensitive terrain of the Laurentian Escarpment in the Trout Lake Drainage Basin since they built their office in the Laurentian Escarpment Conservation Area. Unfortunately, they currently do not yet have a position on the risks this pipeline conversion would present to North Bay’s drinking water.
Similarly, North Bay city council has had an info session with TransCanada yet has no current plans to publicly address the issue. A local petition has gathered over 2,000 signatures so far asking the mayor and council to pronounce a declaration that they will oppose the conversion of this mainline, from natural gas to a tar sands pipeline. Other communities facing threats like this have had success when their municipality spoke up.
Everybody with interest in the pipeline project or a concern about the impacts are invited to drop by TransCanada Pipeline’s trade-show styled open house on Tuesday August 27th to hear firsthand from TransCanada the details about this proposed pipeline conversion and have their questions and concerns noted.