The mayor of Greenstone welcomes news that TransCanada plans to transport oil through its pipeline system in the northwest.

If the federal government approves, under-used natural gas lines will be converted to send Alberta oil to the East coast.

Rénald Beaulieu said he's spoken with TransCanada and expects construction jobs and some full time work will also flow to Greenstone.

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Greenstone Mayor Rénald Beaulieu. (Thomas Gerbet/Radio-Canada)

"The spin offs, because of the large area of Greenstone, we're looking at maybe one or two or up to three lift stations in our area," he said.

Beaulieu says he understands there are some environmental concerns about the plan, but noted the train crash in Quebec proved the alternative also has risks.

"Something could happen I guess ... it did happen in Quebec and destroyed part of a community," he said. "So right now I'm looking at this as a positive spin for our area."

TransCanada plans to begin shipping 1.1 million barrels of oil per day through the pipeline, beginning in 2017.

The company calls the $12 billion project a historic opportunity, while environmental groups are pledging to put a stop to it. The pipeline faces tough resistance from groups like the Council of Canadians, which says Canada should not be considered a highway for oil exports.

TransCanada will hold public meetings throughout the northwest this fall to talk about its pipeline conversion plans. They will take place:

  • Sept. 16, 4-8 p.m., Super Eight Motel, 240 Lakeview Drive, Kenora
  • Sept. 17, 4-8 p.m., Vermilion Bay Lions Club Hall, 76 Spruce St., Vermilion Bay
  • Sept. 18, 4-8 p.m., The Dryden Regional Training & Cultural Centre (The Centre), 100 Casimir Ave., Dryden
  • Sept. 19, 4-8 p.m., Northwoods Motor Inn, Humphrey Rd. & Hwy 17 East, Ignace
  • Sept. 24, 4-8 p.m., Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, 1 Paul Shaffer Dr., Thunder Bay
  • Sept. 25, 4-8 p.m., Nipigon Community Centre, 138 Wadsworth Dr., Nipigon
  • Sept. 26, 4-8 p.m., Geraldton Community Centre, 200 Wardrope Ave., Geraldton