British Columbia

Coquitlam says Kinder Morgan should pay for higher cost of roadwork near pipeline

City of Coquitlam staff say that over 50 years, the presence within the city of the expanded Trans Mountain pipeline will increase maintenance costs of nearby roads by $28.5 million. The mayor says the company should have to pay for it.

Trans Mountain says company already pays about $200,000 in taxes per year to city

The Trans Mountain pipeline’s proposed route takes it under several kilometres of Coquitlam road on its way to Burnaby, and the city's mayor says that will substantially increase the cost of roadwork. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

The City of Coquitlam wants Kinder Morgan to pay for extra costs to city infrastructure caused by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The pipeline's proposed route takes it under several kilometres of city road on its way across the Fraser River from Surrey to Burnaby, mostly through industrial areas near United Boulevard and Highway1, along the Fraser.

City staff say over 50 years, the pipeline will add $28.5 million to the costs of roadwork in that area.

"The existence of an oil pipeline changes the way we do our road maintenance," Mayor Richard Stewart said.

"We get a crack, we can't fix it without getting permission and posting bonds and doing all kinds of preliminary work and it triples the cost of road repair. If we have to install a pipe, then that could be 10 times as expensive."

Stewart says if Kinder Morgan does not pay for the extra costs of road maintenance, Coquitlam residents are essentially subsidizing part of the project.

Kinder Morgan has declined to pay that amount to the city, he says, so council voted this week to file a statement of opposition to the proposed route with the National Energy Board.

Company already pays taxes to city

Ultimately, Stewart says, Coquitlam has no veto over the pipeline route. Only the NEB has that power.

It also cannot demand compensation, which he says leaves its statement of opposition as its only recourse.

Trans Mountain spokesperson Ali Hounsell says the company already pays about $200,000 in taxes per year to the city, an amount she says will more than double after the expansion. She also notes the community benefits agreement the city has with the company is valued at $1 million.

"We're aware they feel they may incur some extra costs," she said. "Our commitment is to continue to sit down and work with them."

Hounsell says Kinder Morgan expects to begin construction work on the Trans Mountain expansion in September 2017 and complete work by the end of 2019.