Over 65 years of operations, Trans Mountain has established and maintained relationships with some 2200 landowners along the existing pipeline route. For the Expansion Project, Trans Mountain’s key objective is to treat each landowner fairly and equitably. Over the past seven years, its land teams have worked directly with all landowners who may be affected by the expansion to identify and address their concerns and questions about the Project.
These discussions include everything from access to land during construction, to remediation of any potential disruption to property as well as compensation for land rights, damage and inconvenience. Trans Mountain recognise questions and issues can arise during construction and operation of the pipeline and can work together to find jointly equitable solutions.
In a recent filing with the National Energy Board (NEB), Trans Mountain included information about tracts of land, such as where it has reached agreements and where agreements are still outstanding. It is important to remember that one landowner, either private (which can be a home or landowner or a private industry or business) or public (municipalities, Crown lands or railways) can own multiple tracts of land.
Overall, the Project requires close to 3200 tracts of land for the Expansion Project in BC and Alberta, and Trans Mountain has come to agreements with landowners for 65% of these tracts. The company is in discussions with landowners for the remaining 35%. Trans Mountain has agreements for 73% of the private lands required for the Project – 88% in Alberta and 68% in BC.
The NEB has a rigorous process to ensure landowner rights are protected while allowing the Project to proceed. In cases where Trans Mountain is not able to reach a mutually agreeable settlement with a landowner, the NEB will provide a multi-step process to address differences of opinions as part of the routing review and approval process. The NEB has detailed information available for landowners on this process, as well as a fact sheet on landowner participation, compensation and dispute resolution.
On 19 July 2019, the NEB released its decision outlining how the regulatory processes for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project will resume, including detailed route and condition compliance processes.
As part of the detailed route approval process, Trans Mountain must issue notices to landowners along the entire route, including those that were served previously, and publish notices in local newspapers. Trans Mountain began the process of notifying landowners this week and updated the Detailed Route section on its website to reflect the new regulatory process.
The NEB will also notify potentially affected Indigenous Peoples, advising of the detailed route approval process. Affected landowners and Indigenous Peoples who have concerns with the proposed route of the pipeline must file a Statement of Opposition (SOO).
This applies to those who would like the NEB to review a prior detailed route decision, hold a new hearing or proceed with a detailed route hearing that was previously underway. Instructions and forms to do so are on the NEB’s website and Process Advisors are available to provide assistance.
Even when route hearings are scheduled, however, Trans Mountain and landowners continue to try to resolve outstanding issues – often with support from neutral mediators provided through the Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. The ADR process is voluntary and non-binding, and it is often successful, leading to the removal of objections and cancellation of a scheduled route hearing.
Trans Mountain does not have the right to expropriate land. The NEB can grant a ‘right-of-entry’ to allow it to build or maintain the pipeline, or perform necessary studies, but not to expropriate land or homes.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/02082019/trans-mountains-landowner-relationships/