Regular Meeting of Council: February 3, 2015

Trent Ernst, Editor

 

Present: Mayor McPherson, Councillors Howe, Krakowka, Scott, Kirby, Caisley, Mackay

PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS

COASTAL GASLINK PIPELINE PROJECT

Bruce Wells, vice president, project development, came before Council to provide Council with an update on the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project. Wells has been working on this since inception in 2011. This is one of 18 projects in the works, and would take gas from near Dawson Creek to Kitimat. It is a natural gas pipeline that will be liquefied when it hits Kitimat.

Prices are low, and demand is high, says Wells, and demand is coming from Asia, where they are taking apart coal fired plants. They are bringing in gas from Australia, Qatar and Africa, but they are interested in Canada, as it is a very stable market, with long term commitments. He says global demand for natural gas is expected to rise 60 percent by 2040.

About ten years ago, Pennsylvania has no gas. Now, it is producing 12 BCF (billion cubic feet) a day. “We are losing one of the largest customers for natural gas,” he says. “We need to find another.”

Liquefied natural gas, he says, opens up these new markets. There are issues, he says. “Margins are slim, and there needs to be cost certainty.”

He says that one of the biggest problems facing LNG (liquefied natural gas) is the schedule. People are looking to Canada because we have good regulatory system, which provides stability, but delays are expensive.

Right now, he says, most of the pipeline has been approved. However, there is a 60 km currently under blockade, but they are working on good, viable solution. But that is one of the biggest risks we face.

The pipeline was issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate (EAC) on Oct 24 of last year. He says this was a short assessment time, but the company entered the process prepared. There are 32 conditions the company will have to meet, 31 of which, he says, are basically the standard issues. That’s what the company is going to be working on between now and start of construction.

Tumbler Ridge hasn’t been as engaged in discussions as some of the communities that are closer to the pipeline,” he says. But the company has changed the route due to concerns and are working with everyone. They can’t please everyone, he says, but they are working diligently to address all concerns. He says they have ongoing engagement with 19 aboriginal groups, and notification across a wider region.

“One of big issues is local employment,” says Wells. “We have a list of businesses in our database. Within six to eight months we will have our prime contractors, who will manage the hiring.”

The company, he says, is having discussions with First Nations and local collages around training programs.

There are five potential construction locations in the Peace River Regional District. One would be near Groundbirch, and a couple up the Sukunka. The main one, he says, would be near Chetwynd.

Councillor Howe asks if all these pipelines are working independently, and building their own route, or is there some discussion to create a corridor they could all follow. Wells says there is some overlap, but mostly, everyone goes their own way. “It’s very difficult to have someone at a regulatory level plan a route as they don’t know the needs of the company.”

Councillor Mackay asks if there’s anything that would prevent Russia running a pipeline straight to China?

Wells says he’s no expert. He reads the paper like everyone else, but says one of the biggest issues is the volatility in the way Russia does business.

One of the things the company has to look at, he says, is economics. “If a company invests the money, ties up the drilling and signs a contract for 25 years, that’s a serious commitment. And it’s about as stable as you can get especially compared to places like North Africa.”

Councillor Howe asks how they are planning to get the pipe into the Sukunka Valley. Coming in to Chetwynd and offloading at their rail siding, perhaps? That is one option, though they haven’t made any final decisions.

Mayor McPherson says we would love to have a job fair here. He also asks how many of the 18 pipelines that are currently planned are going to go through.

Wells says there’s 100 years worth of gas to be produced out of the Montney. Gas that is happening in northeast BC is currently flowing east into Alberta. “You’re going to need 7–8 BCF to fill just one or two pipelines,” Wells Says. “To put that into context, that’s what the area is producing right now.” He says that conventional wisdom is that only one or two would be needed.

Mayor McPherson asks about the “Site C or LNG, not both” statement made by Chief Roland Wilson, especially in light of the fact that Site C is going ahead. Wells says all we can do is continue to negotiate in good faith.

He is asked about how a pipeline is built. It is built in sections, says Well. Some sections require more work, like the section around Hole in the Wall Provincial Park, where the pipeline will cross over the mountains. He says there will probably be three main contractors who will build in sections. Once they get the civil part done, it is a production line. They will try to have it finished in one or one and a half working seasons. Pipelines are seasonal and are built in winter.

Councillor Howe asks what the diameter of the pipe will be? 48 inches, says Wells. And how about creek and river crossings? They will all cross under, he says. And what is the worst case scenario in a leak? In the case of a leak, says Wells, it goes into the atmosphere. “There are shut down valves, but that piece of line will bleed out.”

Councillor Caisley asks how big the work camps will be. The main camp at Chetwynd, says Wells, will be between 800 and 1200 people. He asks how Tumbler Ridge will benefit from this, other than the job fair? Wells answers that for the next 20 to 30 years, they will be paying taxes to the province, and a portion of that may come back to Tumbler Ridge.

Councillor Mackay asks what trades are needed. Wells says there’s a lot of skilled labour needed. Mostly operators, B class welders, pipe fitters and teamsters. He says the company has a histogram that will be public sooner rather than later.

TR CARES

Rose Colledge presents an update on the Society. See story HERE.

FELLOWSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH THRIFT STORE

Jim Kincaid came before council to provide an update for Council. He says he is here to talk about some of the same issues as Rose did.

There are a number of people in this town that are in need, says Kincaid. “We know that people have three basic needs. Food shelter and clothing. The Pentecostal church is administering the food bank. The government and groups like TR CARES help with housing, but clothing is where it falls short.” There have been a number of thrift stores in town that have come and gone, but there is none now.

We have anecdotal evidence of single mothers, of kids being sent to school without proper winter clothes, says Kincaid. And so a bunch of dedicated women at the Tumbler Ridge Fellowship Baptist Church have decided to take on the thrift store operations.

The store opened on Feb 4, says Kincaid, and will be running Wednesdays and Saturdays. We’ll be there for people to pick up clothing and drop of clothing.

The short hours are based on an assessment of needs, but also on the amount of time that the volunteers are able to work. “If it looks like we need to change days and hours, we’ll reevaluate,” says Kincaid.

The thrift store is operating out of the church in the commercial park. “Limited space means we are focusing on clothing only. We will have a bulletin board so that people who have something can connect with people who have needs. We are keeping prices down, and if people really need clothes and can’t afford it, we can provide it for free.”

Councillor Krakowka says thank you to all the people involved. He asks if there is any cost to the church for this. Kincaid says the church will incur a small cost in heating the church those extra days, and there’s some capital costs, but they are keeping the expenses down. “If we make any profit, it will go back into programming for the community.”

Mayor McPherson says it’s been a while since we have had a thrift store, and it’s something that we definitely need, especially at times like these. “Thanks for what you are doing.”

CORRESPONDENCE

BC HYDRO

Correspondence dated January 13, 2015 from BC Hydro Community Relations Manager, Bob Gammer Congratulating the Mayor on his recent election.

SPECTRA ENERGY

Correspondence dated January 19, 2015 from Community Coordinator of Spectra Energy, Glenn Auger about integrated Pest management Plan Renewal for BC Pipeline, Field services and midstream business units.

MINISTRY OF FORESTS, LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCE OPERATIONS

Correspondence dated January 23, 2015 from Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resources Operations, Minister Steve Thomson, thanking Council for the letter that was sent on November 18, 2014 requesting an expansion of the Tumbler Ridge Community Forest Agreement. Councillor Howe says he isn’t 100 percent sure what is being said here. CAO Barry Elliot says they are in process, so right now we are waiting.

EDO Jordan wall says the total amount of cut has been determined, but they are deciding who gets to harvest that. We will start to see higher annual allowable cuts in the future on the northeast. We will be talking about this next week at our P&P meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

PEACE RIVER REGIONAL DISTRICT PART 26 (PLANNING) PARTICIPATION

Council resolves to fully participate in the Regional District planning.

Councillor Kirby says we haven’t participated since 2011. Why now? Mayor McPherson says he feels this makes us a full partner in the Regional District. “I think we should have a say in this stuff. I didn’t know we weren’t. I think at the time they thought we had the two mines and it wasn’t a big deal.”

CAO Barry Elliott says that it is his understanding that Tumbler Ridge has never been a part of this planning function.

Councillor Howe asks if we were to look into boundary expansion, would being a member help with that.

Elliott says we all know there is a lot of activity happening around us, and we don’t have a say in it.

Councillor Scott says this will cost $18,000 and asks if there will be any revenue generated by this?

The answer is no.

Councillor Krakowka asks about the lower cost membership, which would save $10,000.

Mayor McPherson says if we are going to do this, do it fully.

Councillor Howe says that for the Meikle project, they have hinted that they might put the operation and maintenance building on site. “It would be good to have some stroke in the matter.” Elliott says that even around Site C there will be long reaching effects. “There’s an awful lot of development happening over the next few years,” he says. “Now is not the time for council to be a silent partner.”

Mayor McPherson says it’s a very important partnership.

Vote is called. Motion passes.

TUMBLER RIDGE MUSEUM FOUNDATION FEE FOR SERVICE

The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation has approached Council to discuss a proposed Fee for Service contract with the District. See story next issue. There are two changes to the proposed contract that need to be made. Firstly, the original contract required the museum to provide the District with copies of its employee’s T4 slips. However, this is not required or defensible says Elliott. Rather, the District is concerned with seeing a proper accounting of District funds. The language around this in the proposed contract has been changed. This motion passes, as well as the motion to add the phrase “with cause” to the section on termination of the contract. Elliott says this is the second recommendation in response to museum foundations concern about the language around termination of the contract. “I don’t think it is remotely likely that council would terminate without reason, but this adds in the cause.”

A third recommendation to determine the amount of funding for the museum is hotly debated. Elliott says this isn’t really a motion but for Council to review and discuss. The motion is defeated four to three.

ICE IN ARENA

It was noted that last year the arena was not used very much in the last three weeks leading up to the Old Timers Hockey Tournament. Maintenance asked if they could take the ice off on March 13. The cost per day, says Ken Klickach, is $1158 when the ice is in and $260 without ice. Other than the Old Timers, no other ice times have been scheduled for the spring break. The cost to keep the ice in is about $12,500.

Councillor Howe recuses himself as he plays hockey.

Councillor Scott recuses herself as her company sponsors hockey.

Councillor Krakowka asks why there is no breakdown on the costs to run the arena. Elliott says the biggest cost is running the ice plant, but this is not an exact science. Krakowka says he doesn’t support taking the ice out. Councillor Caisley says he is in favour of keeping it to the end of the month.

Councillor Kirby says spring break is happening then, and suggests the District could keep it open so kids could utilize it. Councillor Mackay says this is a great idea and proposes they might even want to waive the fees for that time.

Mayor McPherson asks when ice is usually out. Elliott says it usually is later, but usage is low at the end of the year. “If it does stay open we will do what we can to fill it.”

Motion is defeated; the ice will stay in.

COUNCILLORS’ BUSINESS

Councillor Caisley attended an NDIT meeting in Fort St. John, but nothing important to report back.

Councillor Kirby had tour of new Visitor Information Centre (VIC). Met with Global Geopark committee and toured new archive facilities at the museum. Notes the PRPRC will act as fossil repository for industry. She says CJDC did spotlight on museum, and the museum will be the focus of a TV show on the History Channel. She attended winter carnival. Had a phone meeting with JTST around support groups and programs for local businesses. Community futures are coming in to discuss how to cut costs. Talked to Kim Ferguson, principal at Tumbler Ridge Elementary who said thanks for all the work clearing snow. Ferguson also said that the school had already got involved in the potential naming of Willow Hall. She recommends that Willow Hall be named Willow Hall officially. Two opposed. Passed.

Councillor Howe toured new VIC. Paving prep is going to be a problem for this year. He did a walk through of golf course club house to check what condition it is in.

Councillor Mackay attended meetings down south with the mayor. Spoke with Clean Energy BC reps. One of the things that was most concerning to them is what is happening with Site C. Wind projects in the north are evaluating what they are going to do. Talked to Brookfield reps. They are all saying the same thing. Met with chairman Yan, and discussed community engagement, training, and housing project. Sounds like things are going to start happening to bring the housing project to the specs agreed upon.

Had informal meeting with a number of people, from Mike Bernier to reps from Anglo American around things that are affecting our community. Although it was informal, one of the things he took out of the meeting was Anglo American will be back here when the time is right.

He wants Mayor and Council to meet with local aboriginal bands more. We have a great relationship with folks from WestMo, he says, and it’s to all of our advantage to talk and determine what projects we can work together on.

He attended a meeting with Ian Kilgour at Teck and asked their future plans and time frame. They have not taken Tumbler Ridge off the radar, but it depends on the price of coal. Met with Jessica McDonald at BC Hydro and asked about wind power. She says if LNG goes ahead, there will be demand. Also asked about keeping a portable generator in the region, as we tend to get a lot of power outages, as well as asked her to consider the extension for the Dehua mine site. Met with Boralex and Enercon representatives. One of the things they bring to table is concrete tower plant. Looking at putting plant in the area. Met with representatives from Canadian Dehua, who thanked us for our support. Discussed training in Tumbler Ridge.

Councillor Scott participated in guided tour of VIC. Has concern about air conditioning in the loft area, as she thinks that should be a display area. Asked around section of highway 52 that was meant to be paved. Discussed with Mike Bernier, who is going to find out why there is 40 km that is not paved. [iPad died, so missed the next few points as I scrambled for pen and paper.]

Councillor Krakowka attended VIC walk through. He wants to thank Jordan Wall for all his work getting Minister Bennett up here. He met with seniors regarding Willow Hall, and attended Winter Carnival. He brings forward a concern around the timing of pool maintenance, which always seems to happen during spring break and suggests moving it to fall.

Mayor McPherson made a trip to Vancouver with Councillor Mackay, which Councillor Mackay has mostly covered. A couple points though. He says that Ian Kilgour mentioned that it would be great to have a wind-powered mine, and the mayor thinks the town should play matchmaker between Teck and a company like Boralex. He also suggests that the town inform HD Mining when the paving company is in town, as they need to do paving, too. He was at the PRRD meeting, where they talked about sold waste management, 911, invasive plants, health care, transportation, environment and fair share. At the end of the meeting they discussed tourism and the Mayor suggested a circle tour via Pouce Coupe, Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd, Hudson Hope and Charlie Lake. They are going to look at promoting this. Biggest weakness in this plan is the 40 unpaved kilometres along highway 52.

He says the Regional District is really behind the Geopark. “Dr Helm asked me to be the rep for the Geopark at the Regional District, but I don’t know if I can, as there are so many people who want that job.”