No More Pipelines

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Here is what John Dunn, Vice President of TransCanada Pipelines, says about construction camps in the Hazeltons area:

"Let’s talk about construction camps. We have been very open and upfront about our plans to locate a construction camp in your area. Late last year, we met with the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, the District of New Hazelton and the Village of Hazelton to share preliminary infrastructure plans (e.g. construction camps, laydown and stockpile sites, transportation access and corridors, construction timelines, traffic, etc.) and to solicit input that could potentially be incorporated into the overall project planning efforts. Initial discussions last year focused on locating the camp in Hazelton and we evaluated many potential sites, including ones identified by the District of New Hazelton, and discussed issues including traffic for each site before determining that the current location was the best for the project and the surrounding area. We tried to strike a balance between local concerns and the risks our workers would be exposed to if they had to travel greater distances each day. We made the decision to move the camp to a location about 20 km northwest of Hazelton on the west side of the Skeena River on crown land.

The camp would start out with 200 - 400 workers, growing to about 800 when the pipe is installed, and dropping again to 200 - 300 to complete the installation and reclaim the right-of-way, which will likely occur in late 2017. While camps are self-contained, there will be a need to use local public roads and bridges; however our expected use of those roads, compared with previous levels of road use when the forestry industry in the region was strong, will be modest. As part of our effort to employ members of the community, we have designated camp service contracts for local Aboriginal communities and have already issued requests for provision of those services. Our experience shows that local
retailers will earn much needed income while the camp is nearby. When the camp is removed, we will donate much of the reusable infrastructure such as gym equipment to the community.

We’ve used camps throughout the 60 years we’ve been in the pipeline business. For example, we installed a 600-person camp just 10 km from Rainbow Lake in northern Alberta, another 500-person camp 20 km from Manning, Alberta, with the nearest residence just 2 km away. In all cases, the negative impact was very small or non-existent."

Here is the response from No More Pipelines:

In an insert in last week’s Bulkley Browser (now also posted on its project website) John Dunn of TransCanada Pipelines claimed to “have been very open and upfront about our plans to locate a construction camp in your area.” However, at its open houses in Hazelton (May 2013) and New Hazelton (December 2013) TransCanada Pipelines made no mention of construction camps. Nor has it ever mentioned construction camps in the eleven Project Updates on its website. The company’s discussions in 2013 with the councils of New Hazelton and Hazelton, and with the Regional District, concerning the locations of construction camps were not public. The councils and the Regional District have not subsequently replied to a request for information about those discussions. The details now public were obtained from documents leaked to No More Pipelines in early April 2014.

In his piece, John Dunn talked about “the camp” when, in fact, his company proposes to operate two camps in the Hazeltons area: one in the Kispiox Valley and one in the Suskwa Valley. According to the company’s own documents, the Kispiox camp would house 800-1000 workers (not 800 as Mr. Dunn stated), and would operate for 3 years. The Suskwa camp, which, in a classic example of corporate misinformation, seems to have escaped Mr. Dunn’s attention, would house 300-400 workers and would operate for 4 years and 9 months. To conceptually minimize the impacts of these proposed camps by comparing them to the impacts of historic forestry operations is to insult the intelligence of residents of the Hazeltons area. At no single time during the “strong” years of local forestry were the impacts of as many as 1400 people added, lump-sum, to the infrastructure of the Hazeltons.

A camp of 275 Atco trailers cannot be “self-contained.” Where would the sewage go? Where would the fuel come from, and the water, and the food? How many
trucks would have to pound through Hazelton and out along the Kispiox Valley Road to make this possible? To characterize such a camp as potentially having a “small or non-existent” negative impact is apparently easy to say when you do not live here.

Ask anyone who works in law enforcement and in emergency and social services this question: What comes to a community when a large work camp is built nearby? The answer will be a variation on this: Crime, drugs, and prostitution. It’s already happening in Terrace and Kitimat. Mr. Dunn, please take your condescending attitude with you when you build your construction camps and donate your used gym equipment from some other project, elsewhere.

TransCanada Pipelines plans to build another 1100-person camp in the Kispiox Valley. Spectra Energy is proposing to build two, 1000-person camps in the Hazeltons area: one near Skunsnat Lake, and one near Kisgegas. This means that 4500 people could be added to the population of the Hazeltons area.