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Construction phase of northern B.C. natural gas pipeline complete

Coastal GasLink (CGL) has completed the installation of 100 per cent of the pipe on the 670-kilometre pipeline from the natural gas fields of northeast B.C. to the LNG Canada processing facility in Kitimat.

“This means that all 670 kilometres of pipe has been welded, coated, lowered into the trench, rigorously tested, and backfilled from the Wilde Lake Compressor Station near Dawson Creek to our Metering Station in Kitimat, physical construction on the project is now complete,” the company said in a press release.

The company announced the milestone achievement on Oct. 30, marking the end of five years of preparation work and construction at an estimated cost of $14.5 billion.

READ MORE: Haisla-Ledcor moves in on pipeline construction

According to CGL, the pipeline project has awarded more than $1.8 billion in contracts and contributed $3.2 billion to the provincial GDP, with $3.95 billion spent directly with local businesses on items ranging from supplies and construction services, to accommodation and food services.

In terms of labour hours, the project is credited with creating the equivalent of 25,700 full-time jobs through its construction phase.

But the project hasn’t been without its problems.

Four weeks ago CGL was fined $340,000 by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office for issues related to erosion and sediment control, bringing the total amount of fines to about $800,000.

Despite the project’s support from elected officials with 20 Indigenous groups along the pipeline’s route, the project triggered protests across the country in 2020 when Witsuwit’en hereditary chiefs challenged the authority of elected chiefs to grant CGL access to their territory.

Supporters of the chiefs’ opposition to the pipeline blockaded access points to the pipeline route resulting in a Supreme Court injunction and tense RCMP confrontations near Houston, B.C., resulting in multiple arrests.

Some of those cases are still in front of the courts. Last week, Amnesty International condemned the arrests calling for all charges to be dropped.

READ MORE: B.C. hereditary chiefs ban Coastal GasLink from Wet’suwet’en lands

In what was seen as a violation of Indigenous rights on unceded territory, weeks of solidarity protests blocked rail lines across the country and caused crippling disruptions in the national supply chain.

With the construction phase now complete, the project will transition toward “mechanical completion,” the point at which the pipeline is permitted to actually transport gas.

CGL says this puts them squarely on track to meet the objective of completing the project by the end of the year.

Ongoing activities into 2024 include clean-up, reclamation, and environmental protection activities, according to the release.

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