Another pipeline company wants route through park

Spectra plan calls for short passage through Nisga'a Lava Bed Memorial Provincial Park

TransCanada isn’t the only pipeline company considering a route through the Nisga’a Lava Bed Memorial Park as one way of getting natural gas from northeastern B.C. to a planned liquefied natural gas plant near Prince Rupert.

But Spectra Energy, which would build a 48-inch pipeline called the Westcoast Connector for the planned Prince Rupert LNG project owned by the BG Group, would mostly skirt the southern edge of the Class A park and go through the park for 1.2 kilometres beginning at a narrow point near the Hwy113 entry to the park, says company lands and environment manager Ken Berry.

And unlike the Trans Canada plan which calls for digging a trench, placing in the pipe and then burying it, Spectra Energy would use horizontal drilling technology, leaving the surface undisturbed.

Spectra construction manager Drum Cavers, speaking at an information open house here June 4, said the Nisga’a Lisims Government has expressed a desire that a route along Hwy113 leading westward be considered, but that the company prefers the southern route.

“Right now what we have filed we come across the narrowest portion,” said Cavers of environmental filings made with the provincial government.

“What the concept was in the application was to drill underneath there to avoid disturbance to the surface,” added Errol Batchelor who is also a construction manager.

Spectra’s right-of-way, which is 55 metres wide, would then parallel the highway along with the TransCanada pipeline through the park.

It is also planning a route that would enable it to put in two 48-inch pipelines should any other LNG plant proposal in Prince Rupert surface. Spectra has yet to officially seek permission to drill through the park and both it and Trans Canada are now going through the public consultation part of their  environmental assessments.