Pacific Northern Gas spends $6 million to move and protect gas line near Terrace

But larger issue of repairs to forest service road stemming from 2017 flood remains unresolved

Heavy rains last fall exposed a section of the Pacific Northern Gas line along the Copper River east of Terrace. The utility has just completed a major project to move the section to a safer location. (File photo)

Heavy rains last fall exposed a section of the Pacific Northern Gas line along the Copper River east of Terrace. The utility has just completed a major project to move the section to a safer location. (File photo)

Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) has now finished a $6 million project to repair and move its natural gas pipeline along the Copper River Road east of Terrace, a section of which was exposed following heavy rains and flooding in the late fall of 2017.

The project involved relocating 840 metres of PNG’s pipeline which serves Kitimat, Terrace and Prince Rupert away from the Copper River to above the 200-year flood plain level in that area.

Temporary repairs had been made while planning and then undertaking the project, said PNG vice president Joe Mazza.

“For the past year, PNG has continued to deliver natural gas to customers, safely and reliably, without any interruption,” he said.

Following the exposure of the pipeline to the elements, PNG ran a parallel bypass pipeline and then protected it from the prospects of the Copper River flooding again by constructing an armoured dyke in advance of the permanent move.

The 2017 event was not the first time flooding and washouts had potentially affected the gas line running alongside the Copper River and the Copper River Forest Service Road.

First built in 1968, the line was washed out in 1978, moved in 1984 and again in 1986 with the latter project involving moving the line so that the forest service road was between it and the river.

“The elevation of the forest service road was approximately that of a 200-year flood event, but the rock armour used in its construction was not durable and undersized…,” PNG explained to its regulator, the BC Utilities Commission, in outlining its work plan for this year.

“Threats and at-risk areas will be identified and

action plans developed so that risks can be addressed in a proactive manner,” PNG added of an overall approach it will now take to safeguard the length of its pipeline serving the area.

Mazza said PNG will be relying on insurance to cover most of the repair costs, minimizing the impact on ratepayers.

”The details of the claim have not been finalized at this time, however, the repair costs are capital in nature and will be recovered over the life of the pipeline,” he said.

PNG estimated that the average residential customer would see an increase of $3 a year to pay for the project but that the amount has been absorbed in the dollar value of rate decreases for 2018 and 2019.

The 2017 floods along the Copper River also washed out sections of the Copper River Forest Service Road, in some cases stranding logging equipment.

The prospect of repairing the road touched off a fierce debate between the provincial forests, lands and natural resource operations and rural development ministry, which has jurisdiction over the road, and its licensed users over who should shoulder the costs.

The province maintained the position that the roadwork does not qualify as a capital project to be financed entirely by itself and expected licensed users to chip in.

Included in the discussions was the provincial BC Timber Sales agency which puts up smaller sections of forest for logging bids.

Damage to the road is such that it was closed for public use last fall and remains closed to this day.

Presently there is no coordinated or shared road repair plan and some licensed users, including Coast Tsimshian Resources, are making their own repairs along sections of the road.

Work to date includes new road construction, bridge installations, culvert installations, bridge repairs, road re-aligned, landslide removal, slope failure repairs and road stabilization.

The forests, lands and natural operations and rural development ministry “did not agree to fund a joint road/pipeline project,” indicated Mazza.

“As such, PNG’s completed permanent repair project focused on the pipeline and does not include a road or right-of-way access. The road itself is the responsibility of [the ministry],” said Mazza who added his company remains open to a collaborative effort.

A statement from the ministry indicated that BC Timber Sales did conduct road and bridge maintenance along 34km of the road.

“Given the exceptional rainfall events, the ministry has provided approximately $750,000, including BC Timber Sales funding, to contribute towards repairs in addition to professional services during ongoing planning and repair efforts,” it said.

“Discussions continue on permanent solutions for fully restored access and the cost-share breakdown,” the ministry added.

One contract just awarded by BC Timber Sales to Progressive Ventures of Terrace is for $284,800 and is to realign one portion of the road involving rock blasting and trucking excavated material to a more stable dump site, the ministry said.

Just Posted

Suspected methamphetamine and scale seized by police. (Terrace RCMP photo)
Terrace RCMP seize guns, ammo, suspected narcotics

Man released after court appearance

Caledonia Secondary School is the recipient of a $50,000 grant to replace its aging science equipment. (File photo)
Cal snags major grant to modernize science equipment

The $50,000 comes from a pharmaceutical company

Unemployment rate drops in northwestern B.C.

Large improvement since Spring 2020

Uplands Nursery this year will do all of the 4600 Block of Lazelle Ave., beginning at its east end, and a portion of the 4700 Block. (File photo)
Lazelle sidewalk project begins June 14

Improvements coming to 4600 and 4700 Blocks

Cassie Hall Elementary School students pose for a picture in their garden. Since 2019, students and staff at the school have been attending to the garden project. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
Cassie Hall students grow a green sanctuary at school

The K-6 elementary school students and staff have been working on the garden project since 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read