BY RUSSELL HIXSON - Kinder Morgan has moved ahead with surveying Burnaby Mountain in Burnaby, B.C.
For about a month, the energy company will conduct tests to determine the viability of constructing a two kilometre pipeline through the area and possibly through the mountain for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
"In order to do that we have to do geotechnical assessments," said Ali Hounsell with Kinder Morgan media relations.
The surveying consists of environmental field studies and geotechnical assessment.
The environmental portion will mainly be observational, but experts will also do some digging with augers or shovels.
They will look at soil, watercourses, groundwater, wildlife, terrestrial ecosystem mapping, vegetation, archeology and more.
For the geological assessment, a drill is being flown in via helicopter for on site assembly.
The drill will be operated 24 hours a day for 8-10 days.
Two boreholes will be drilled, one in an existing parking lot and a natural clearing to limit disturbing vegetation.
Hounsell said Kinder Morgan is using the drilling as an opportunity to partner with Simon Fraser University for a wider geological study of Burnaby Mountain and the surrounding area.
Students and the public will have access to the drilling data.
Kinder Morgan stated that it did not expect noise levels to violate City of Burnaby bylaws.
The city has staunchly opposed the pipeline project and denied the company an encroachment permit for the work. However, the National Energy Board (NEB) decided that federal legislation allows Kinder Morgan to enter and survey any Crown or private land on proposed pipeline routes.
In a letter to Kinder Morgan, the city stated that regardless of the NEB decision, it would take action to stop the work if its by-laws were violated.
Over the past two years, Trans Mountain crews have been doing fieldwork and studies to assess the proposed pipeline corridor, but need more time to map an exact path.
The surveying and testing is expected to wrap up at the end of September.
Trans Mountain is proposing an expansion of its current 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Strathcona County (near Edmonton), Alberta and Burnaby, B.C.
The proposed expansion, if approved, would create a twinned pipeline that would increase the capacity of the system from 300,000 barrels per day, to 890,000 barrels per day.
Kinder Morgan stated that the area through Burnaby Mountain is ideal because it would cause minimal traffic disruption during construction and avoid all area homes.